Right now, 82 elderly South Koreans, who were ripped away from their North Korean families during the Korean War, are finally getting a chance to sit down with them, talk with them and embrace them thanks to the first family reunions in more than three years.
The South Korean participants met with 178 members of their North Korean families at the Mt. Kumkang resort starting at about 3 p.m. this Thursday.
A total of 140 people, including accompanying family members, arrived at the resort two hours ago and checked in at Oekumgang Hotel.
The first meeting in more than six decades between family members from both Koreas will end at 5 p.m.
They will then attend a welcoming banquet together later in the evening at 7.
For the South Korean participants, their day began at 10 a.m. this morning when they crossed the heavily fortified border between the South and North, escorted by officials from the South Korean Red Cross and medical personnel, in case one of the participants should encounter health problems during the trip.
More than a dozen of the participants were in wheelchairs and needed help boarding buses, which they shared with a total of 58 family members who are going along to provide physical and emotional support.
On the second day of the reunion event tomorrow, families from both sides will meet three times, which includes a group luncheon.
During this first round of reunions from Thursday through Saturday, the separated South Korean and North Korean family members will meet on six separate occasions for a total of 11 hours.
This first group will return to South Korea Saturday afternoon.
The second round of reunions will begin one day later and last from Sunday through Tuesday, where 88 North Koreans will reunite with 361 of their relatives from the South.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.