Most haven’t seen since they were separated by the Korean War consequences. The temporary reunions are highly emotional because most of those taking part are elderly people. More than 60% of those seeking reunions are over 80 years old. Buses carrying the elderly South Koreans attending this week’s reunions arrived at a border immigration. Participants were applauded by Red Cross workers as they arrived. They will travel to North Korea’s Diamond Mountain resort.
According to Seoul’s Unification Ministry, 197 separated South Koreans and their family members will take part in the first round of reunions that run from Monday to Wednesday. Another 337 South Koreans will participate in a second round of reunions from Friday to Sunday. Leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a son of North Korean war refugees, agreed to resume the reunions during the first of their two summits this year in April. South Korea will also send dozens of medical and emergency staff to Diamond Mountain to prepare for potential health problems of participants. There are currently about 600,000 to 700,000 South Koreans with immediate or extended relatives in North Korea. South Korea uses a computerized lottery to pick participants for the reunions. More than 75,000 of the 132,000 South Koreans who have applied to participate in reunions since 1988 have died, according to the Seoul ministry.