Family Reunion update

UPDATE: As usual, Lankov hits the nail on the head:

The reunions are emotional, as the relatives are quite elderly and may never see each other again. Observers say many South Koreans feel sympathetic for the divided families and calls for greater cooperation with North Korea tend to increase when reunions are held.

North Korea analyst Andrei Lankov at Seoul’s Kookmin University says that is exactly what Pyongyang wants.

“It is obviously in hope to mobilize some pro-North Korean support to increase pressure over the [South Korean] government on the assumption that the government will be more willing to give more concessions to the North Koreans,” Lankov said.

…Analyst Andrei Lankov says he expects the South to offer some sort of concession.

“Dealing with North Korea is largely about giving them money and concessions,” Lankov said. “We are dealing with a very brutal government, which is ready to create trouble for everybody, so it is important to give something that will at least partially go to the people, not the government.” (Voice of America)

ORIGINAL POST: The DPRK-ROK family reunion footage always makes me sad and angry. Anyhow, Evan Ramstad has some interesting information:

Since their start in 2000, 16 in-person reunions have been held at Mount Kumgang or other places, involving about 1,680 families. There have also been seven videoconference reunion events, involving about 280 families. In all, 19,960 people from the two Koreas have met through the reunions.

In the newest reunions, relatives will be with each other for roughly six to seven hours under conditions largely dictated by North Korea, which tightly controls the movement of its citizens and the information they receive. The relatives will meet for just two hours out of view of North Korean minders, South Korean officials said.

North Korean participants in the reunions receive several days of guidance about what they should and shouldn’t talk about. The South Koreans, for their part, are briefly advised not to talk about the North’s authoritarian government.

North Korea stopped participating after the October 2007 reunion because it was upset at the behavior of new leadership in the South and pressure to give up nuclear weapons.

North Korea agreed last month to restart the reunions after its leader Kim Jong Il in July met Hyun Jeong-eun, the chairwoman of Hyundai Group, whose Hyundai Asan unit manages the resort and has played an important role in establishing commercial relations between the two Koreas.

The BBC has more, including video.

Read the full story below:
In Koreas, Reunions Set to Begin
Wall Street Journal, A16
Evan Ramstad


One Response to “Family Reunion update”

  1. Gag Halfrunt says:

    At the event shown in the BBC video, either Nice to Meet You was played over and over again or the camera crew were very quick at getting from table to table…