14:36 GMT +319 September 2018
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    South Korean man waves to his North Korean relatives from the window of a bus following a family reunion at the resort area of Mount Kumgang, North Korea

    ‘Human Face’ of Korean War on Display as Torn Apart Families Reunite

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    Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Monday that the reunion of 89 family members at Mount Kumgang in North Korea shows a human face of the Korean War.

    "This [the separation of families] is the most tragic part of the Korean War, [which] as you know, has not ended and is temporarily halted," Chun told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    ​"The Korean War has been going on for 68 years. As you recall, about 10 million Korean families were at the time separated. At the time, they thought the separation was temporary, but then, it became permanent. This [the reunion] is the most important development of the inter-Korean summit [with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in recent months]… it will show the human face of the Korean War and help us to emphasize the humanitarian aspect," Chun added.

    South Korean participants will reportedly be reunited with family in North Korea from Monday to Wednesday, followed by a reunion of 83 North Koreans with their South Korean families from Friday to Sunday. During each of the two three-day reunion sessions, families are expected to have a combined face time of around 11 hours, Sputnik reported Sunday. 

    According to Chun, one of the people who was reunited with his family members called the opportunity a "miracle," adding that it was the "happiest day" of his life.

    "If you look at some of the statistics of the family members that are going to be participating, 40 percent are older than 90. The oldest one is 101 years old. They have waited for 68 years for an 11-hour reunion with families. That goes to show the extent of the tragedy of the war," Chun told Sputnik.

    However, some political analysts have taken a cynical view of the reunion, Chun noted, by referring to the media coverage of the reunion as North Korean propaganda.

    "They [the analysts] are saying that North Korea is using this as propaganda, and this is just manipulation. You read these very cynical reports of a very heartbreaking family reunion," Chun said, also adding that the US has been "obstructionists for the permanent peace settlement in Korea." 

    Millions were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, which divided brothers and sisters; parents and children; and husbands and wives while perpetuating division on the Korean Peninsula.
    The situation on the peninsula has significantly improved within the last several months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding two rounds of talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in as well as a top-level summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

    The parties agreed to work toward denuclearization on the peninsula and sign an official peace treaty to end the Korean War in 2018, to mark the 65th anniversary of an armistice reached between North Korea, China and the United States on July 27, 1953.

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    Korean War, reunion, South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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