North and South Korean families meet – level 3

03-11-2015 07:00

It’s taken 60 years, but now families torn apart by the 1950-53 Korean War are reunited. Nearly 400 South Koreans crossed the heavily armed border into North Korea to see family members for the first time in more than six decades. The two Koreas are divided and remain in a technical state of war, but agreed to hold the reunions after negotiating the end of a standoff at the military border.

Emotions ran high during the reunion. Families separated since the war have no means of communication and often don’t know if relatives on the other side are surviving.

In the first round of reunions on Tuesday, 96 North Koreans and their families met about 400 people travelling from the South. The second round on Saturday will reunite about 190 North Koreans with 90 South Koreans and their families.

South Korean participants are advised to steer clear of a long list of topics, including the North’s political leadership or living standards. Participants are even given a guidebook on appropriate subjects to discuss with their North Korean kin.

An emotional day for all involved, with many, but not all, questions answered from the six-decade separation.

Difficult words: negotiate (discuss), standoff (a situation when it’s really hard for either side to do something to win), steer clear of (keep away from), kin (your most closely related family).


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