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Emotional Koreans Reunite at Rare North-South Event

Emotional Koreans Reunite at Rare North-South Event

| On 20, Feb 2014

North Korea South Korea reunion

A South Korean man is reunited with his nieces from North Korea. (Photo by Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Sometimes the news just grabs at your heartstrings and this story definitely fit the bill.

In North Korea today, an emotional reunion happened between mostly elderly South and North Koreans. The two nations agreed to let 140 South Koreans board buses and meet at a resort location in the North to be briefly reunited with 180 relatives. Many of these people have not seen their relatives since 1953 when the Korean War ended.

According to the Korea Herald, the families meeting on Thursday will have until Saturday to spend with their relatives in six sessions each 11 hours in length. There is a list of prohibited items that residents from the South cannot bring into the North. They cannot discuss politics at all.

Once the first group leaves Saturday, then another group of 360 South Koreans will head up to the North to see 58 North Koreans. They will spend Saturday through Monday in North Korea. No foreign media outlets are allowed to cover the events.

The two Koreas are technically still at war. A peace treaty was never signed, but rather an armistice, to end the conflict. It is nearly impossible for those in the South to communicate with relatives across the border because neither country allows it. North Korea is one of the most reclusive states in the world. They do not allow free thinking, dissent, outside media or communication, Internet, or travel for their citizens.

Thousands of South Koreans have signed up take part in the reunions by lottery, but few are chosen. It’s unclear how the North chooses its candidates.

The reunion almost didn’t happen because the North was angered by the military exercises the South and the U.S. plan to carry out early next week. This gathering was the first of its kind between the two nations since 2010. The South was angry with the North from the fallout from a skirmish that year.

This story for some reason just grabbed me today and I had to share. Elderly people have a special place in my heart. To see them so emotional in the reunion just reminds you that no matter what our nationality may be, people are still people. I wish peace for the families still waiting to see their loved ones.

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