중앙데일리

Tension yields to family ties at reunions of divided kin

July 11,2004
Despite the controversy over paying condolences to the North on the tenth anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Il Sung and the subsequent postponement of military talks, the 10th reunion of separated families from North and South Korea began on schedule at the Mount Geumgang resort in North Korea yesterday.
Among the 471 family members from the South who met their kin in the North was Moon Jae-in, the Blue House senior secretary for Public Participation. Mr. Moon, along with his mother Gang Han-ok, 77, met with his aunt Gang Byeong-ok, 55. Mr. Moon’s mother, who originally hails from Heungnam in North Korea, came to the South during the Korean War and was separated from her sister during their flight. This is the first time an incumbent Blue House official has met a relative from the North in the reunions.
A former Blue House senior secretary for protocol, Lee Byung-ki, 58, met with his paternal aunt Lee Sun-deuk, 71, at the reunion. Ms. Lee, originally from the South, went missing during the war when she was helping injured North Korean soldiers at the Seoul National University Hospital. Mr. Lee is the son of Ms. Lee’s older brother, who is now deceased.
The oldest person taking part in the reunion event is Roh Bok-geum, 95. She met her son, Lim Seung-ho, 73, from North Korea. As she caressed his thumbless hand, the result of an accident as a child, Ms. Roh wept and reflected upon the lost years. Her husband, Lim Bok-gu, 97, could not join the reunion because of health problems.
Kim Moo-saeng, a 61-year-old actor, met with his maternal uncle, Jang Gyeong-su, 79, the sole living kin of his mother. He cried, “It feels like I am meeting my mother again,” as he met his uncle.
The families will meet again privately today and then participate in a tour of Samilpo before returning to the South later in the day.


by Lee Young-jong, Choi Jie-ho


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