Proposed reunion for North and South Korea

Have you been watching the news about the possible reunion of families between North and South Korea? I find this story really fascinating heart breaking at the same time.

Millions of families were torn apart by the division of North and South Korea in 1945. Later, when the Korean War (1950-53) ended with a cease fire instead of a peace treaty, the countries remained as enemies and the families were permanently torn apart. According to the North Korea Times, "more than 120,000 South Koreans were registered as having family members in the North when the two countries were divided in the 1950-53 war." 

It's hard to imagine your family being split like this. And, because N. Korea is a closed country, the families were not only divided, but left without any information of their loved ones due to the absence of mail, phone and email connections.

The Red Cross has brought about reunions in the past, the last of which occurred in 2009. According to CNN, over 10,000 people applied for the reunions last year, but only 200 were able to do face to face meetings with their loved ones. Some 20,000 people have taken part in reunions (even a video chat counts as a reunion) since 2000. Even though they might have been able to have a brief meeting, the communication lines are still not open--reunions are a chance to see, perhaps touch, and know they were alive, but not much more than that.

What's really interesting here (at least to me) is that North Korea is the one proposing the next round of reunions take place. Perhaps it's a peace offering after the deadly conflicts between the two countries, both in the past and recently (a North Korea torpedo sank a South Korea navy vessel in March, killing 46 sailors). Regardless of North Korea's motivation, the families would be the clear victors if a deal can be brokered for another reunion.

The Red Cross in both countries are working with their governments, hoping to put the event together by Chuseok later this month. It sounds that there might be an attempt to make the reunions a regular occurrence. Hope for all those people's sake that the bureaucrats can make this possible.

Read more here:
CNN: N. Korea proposed reunion of separated families
North Korea Times: S. Korea to propose regular family reunions to N. Korea
The Huffington Post: Korea family reunion proposed by North Korea to South Korea


  1. It is truly astounding that a country such as North Korea continues to exist as it is, in this present day. I can't believe how it's this little microcosm that subsists on its own. But I'm hoping that the reunification is something we can celebrate with our children soon.

  2. i agree with elizabeth...it is just crazy that NK exists as it is...and SO sad. my paternal grandfather's entire family is still in NK -- he left on his own as a teenager and didn't have any contact with his family. he passed away in 2005, and it's so sad to think he never got to have contact with his family again.
    these reunions are really cool, though!
    on another note, i think it's ridiculous when people ask whether we are adopting for south korea or north korea. um. yeah.

  3. the whole situation is just unbelievably sad. i can't imagine living in a world where i was separated from my family for decades. hopefully this is a step in the right direction; its very encouraging NK is initiating this action.


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