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3 years ago|4 views

S. Koreans prepare to meet N. Korean relatives at reunions next week

Arirang News
Arirang News
Those going to the reunions next week include nearly a hundred lucky South Koreans.
They're all very elderly and haven't seen their families in nearly 70 years.
Our Oh Jung-hee has more on how they're feeling and how they're preparing.
For 68 years, Lee Soo-nam has been holding on to these photos of his brother... and his brother's elementary school graduation certificate.
Lee is 77 years old now.
And he's one of the 93 South Koreans who'll be meeting their relatives in North Korea... at the reunion events next week.
He and his brother were separated in 1950 not long after the Korean War broke out,... his brother was taken away by North Korean soldiers.
Lee says... his family, who went on to live in the South, had lost one member, but his brother had lost his whole family all at once... and that breaks his heart.

"I saw my mother pray for him early in the morning. She did that for 20 years and then gave up. I'm still overwhelmed with emotion. I'm thinking -- is this a dream? It would've been great if my parents had experienced this before they died."

Another South Korean man, Park Ki-dong, has prepared a bunch of presents to give to his long-lost brother and sister.
Park says he doesn't remember much about his siblings in the North, as they were only two and six when they were separated.
He is most curious about his parents -- who were recently confirmed to have died.
When he last saw them he was in middle school.

"I went to a school in another city, but I used to see my mom every Saturday. I miss her a lot. I want to ask them when our parents died and where their graves are. We in the South have no idea."

89-year-old Hwang Woo-seok is meeting his own daughter.
He, too, has little memory of her.
She was only 3 when they were split up, but now she's 71 years old.

"I just want to tell her 'thank you for being alive.' She must've gone through a lot of hardship. If she had died, then I wouldn't have been able to find the only member of my family."

Come next week, these three men will be reunited with their relatives from the North.
After nearly 7 decades apart and no contact, they'll have three days to spend together.
It'll be historic for the country, emotional for the people going and no doubt tearful as well.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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