North and South Korea to hold rare family reunion in October

North Korea to host second family reunion in five years

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A North Korean man (R) on a bus waves his hand as a South Korean man weeps after a luncheon meeting during inter-Korean temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort October 31, 2010.

South and North Korean families will gather in a week-long reunion event this year as almost a half century past the division of two countries, according to media reports

The Yonhap News Agency quoted from the South's Unification Ministry on Tuesday that the reunion will take place at Mount Kumgang, a resort on the North's east coast between October 20-26 with the 100 selected attendees from the two countries.

The talks which led to the reunion event was held on Monday morning by Red Cross officials from both sides at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

The decision of the event came after the two Koreas reached a deal to end military standoff and also reduce border tension between the two countries.

Korea was controlled under colonial rule by the Japanese Empire for 35-years. Following the end of it, the United States and the Soviet Union decided to temporarily occupied the country in 1945 and formed a trusteeship system.  

An effort to construct an independent government for the entire Korea came from statesman Lyuh Woon-Hyung in September 1945. Following his attempt, US stepped him down and formed an initiative to hold a general free election for Korea. Disagreement between the Soviet Union and the United States caused to fail of the decision to take a general election.

The absence of an unified government in the country triggered two separate governments to emerge in the North and South. A communist state was established with the influence of the Soviet Union in the North as a pro-American one was founded in the South of the country.

Following the end of Korean War which was taken place between 1950-1953, both countries declared their sovereignty in their borders. The conflict between two countries have remained since 1950’s, leaving thousands of families to be separated with little contact.

Efforts for giving a statue to the reunions as an annual event have been continuing since a historic North-South summit was held in 2000. However the events were cancelled year by year due to the damaged relations between the two countries.

66,000 Koreans whose ages vary from 70 to 90 are on the waiting list to have a chance to see or hear from their families. Even so, only a small lucky percentage will be selected from both sides for the emotional gathering, after a check for the vital status of their families.

The historical event with 100 expected attendees from both sides will be the first reunion since February 2014 and only the second in the past five years.

TRTWorld and agencies