War-separated family members from the two Koreas will meet with their loved ones Thursday for the first time in over six decades.
The reunion event for families separated since the Korean War-- the first in more than three years-- will take place from February 20th through the 25th at North Korea's Mt. Kumgang.
Eighty-three South Korean divided family members will gather in Sokcho, Gangwon-do Province on Wednesday and spend a night there before crossing the inter-Korean border on Thursday morning.
The elderly participants, most in their 80s and some in their 90s, will undergo a simple health check-up the night before their departure and receive instructions about how to conduct themselves in the communist state.
On Thursday, they will travel by bus to the Mt. Kumgang resort, the site of the reunions.
Here, the South Korean family members will be joined by 1-hundred-80 North Korean participants for the first round of reunions that runs for three days.
The event will be composed of six total meetings, with the first five lasting for two hours each.
The final meeting on Saturday will last just one hour.
If the reunion event goes as planned, the separated family members have just 11 hours to make up for lost time.
Millions of Koreans were separated from their families during the Korean War and around 70-thousand registered divided family members are waiting to reunite with their long-lost relatives.
With no telephone or letter exchanges allowed between citizens of the two Koreas, the occasional government-arranged reunions are the only chance they have.
The humanitarian event is an important barometer of inter-Korean relations.
Just last September, the North called off a round of reunions amid heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula, disappointing hundreds of divided families on both sides of the border.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.