An emotional six-day family reunion began on Thursday between dozens of elderly South Koreans and North Koreans in a rare sign of cooperation between the two countries.
Separated for six decades, the families met for the first time since the Korean War at a resort in North Korea. More than 100 mostly elderly South Koreans travelled through the snow to meet their children, brothers, sisters, spouses and other relatives. They carried gifts, including clothing, medicine and food for their relatives to the North – apparently North Korea is a little short on medicine… and food. Needless to say, it was an emotional day with a ton of hugging and crying.
“It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like when you’ve been separated so long,” South Korean resident Lee Du-young told the BBC before he left for the North.
“But it’s a true miracle; I’m so elated. All that was missing in my life was my brother, and now that I can see him again, I’d have no regrets whatsoever if I were to die tomorrow.”
Well that’s good to hear, because he’s headed to North Korea so he might actually end up dying tomorrow. You never know with Kim Jong-un – the whole thing could be a trap!
But a trap would be pretty surprising since this isn’t the first time that the Koreas have allowed family reunions. They tend to happen from time to time whenever the Kim Jongs are feeling extra generous – although this is the first one in three years.
In South Korea, only about a hundred or so relatives are chosen through a lottery system to take part in the reunion. About 72,000 South Koreans are on a waiting list to join the family reunion events. Nearly half of them are over 80.
In North Korea, no one knows how the families are chosen – most likely it’s whoever claps the hardest for Kim Jong-un.