Elderly from South and North Korea to reunite after 60 years
In the early 1950s, families from the two Koreas were torn apart permanently by the Korean War.
Most of them have not seen each other in six decades.
According to New York Daily News, South and North Korea reached an agreement on Wednesday (Sept 8) to hold reunions next month so that the mostly elderly folk can meet their relatives from across the border.
This agreement has been viewed by political observers as an important milestone considering that the two Koreas almost came to blows just a month ago.
South Korea had unleashed vocal propaganda on North Korea, demanding that they apologise for planting landmines that had maimed South Korean soldiers.
North Korea ended up apologising, smoothing the situation over.
New York Daily News reported that these reunions will take place on Oct 20 and will last for a week at the Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.
One hundred people each from the two Koreas will be allowed to finally meet their loved ones from across the border.
Lee Duk-haeng (green tie), South Korea's head delegate and committee member of the South Korean Red Cross, with fellow South Korean official (pink tie), shakes hands with North Korean counterpart Pak Yong Il after their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas to discuss the reunion. PHOTO: REUTERS
BBC News reported that last year, a reunion was also set up by the two Koreas for their elderly in February.
On the day of the meeting, 82 elderly South Koreans, accompanied by 58 family members, went to North Korea by bus.
More than a dozen of them were in wheelchairs, and two travelled in ambulances as they needed medical attention.
These elderly cried when they finally met their loved ones, overwhelmed by joy.
Elderly South Koreans aboard a bus waving goodbye to their North Korean relatives as they leave last year's family reunion at the resort area of Mount Kumgang, North Korea. PHOTO: AFP
Most of the people who applied to be part of this year's reunion are in their 70s or older as they are desperate to see their loved ones before they die.
As the North Korean government bans the exchange of letters, phone calls and e-mails, many South Koreans have no idea if their loved ones across the border are still alive.
According to the Korea Times, South and North Korea have made efforts to maintain the peace between them ahead of Korea's fall harvest Chuseok holiday later this year.
Source: Allkpop, Korea Times, New York Daily News, BBC News