On Monday, the sixth of January, South Korean President Park Geun-hye had proposed a reunion for families who have been separated from each other by the Korean War in 1950 for over 60 years. President Park Geun-hye made this proposal since the best time for reunion, Lunar New Year, is drawing near, so she wish to give a chance to elderlies in South Korea to finally meet their siblings, children, and relatives on that blessed day. I think this is a great proposal, one that is in the best interests of both North Koreans and South Koreans. Between 1985 and 2010, 22,000 Koreans participated in 18 rounds of government-arranged reunions, but these precious times were ended when the relation between South Korea and North Korea turned bitter. Due to animosity between two political sectors of the same country, thousands of families were ripped apart, children from their parents and siblings from each other. Since the 1950s, sixty years have passed, and many of the survivors from the war are now elderlies, whose deepest desire in their hearts must be to have a family reunion after so many years of no exchange of letters, phone calls, or emails. Specifically, about 73,000 South Korean, half of whom are over 80 years old, are still on the waiting list to meet their loved ones. Not to be pessimistic, but this reunion might be their last one. However, like always, North Korea never agreed with anything South Korea says, not even when President Geun-hye has already promised increased humanitarian aid and labor help to the North.
The North blamed the South for having military exercises with the United States and labeled it as drill rehearsals for invasion. In addition, North Koreans also justified by saying the mood in North Korea now is not fitting for reunion because of several scathing criticisms, which were directed at Kim Jong-un, from South Korea. Nevertheless, I feel that these reason are not strong enough to justify North Korea’s rebuttal of the proposal. Furthermore, the proposal for reunion impacts the people, so the people should have a say in this matter, but the North Korean government simply went ahead and decided on their own. Not only in Korea, many of the Korean immigrants in America must have relatives in South Korea, so they must want to fly back to meet their long separated kins. However, due to North Korea’s strong will, hopes were struck down in many Koreans’ hearts. Although I am not a Korean, I know the pain of being separated from my family because I have to go far away for college. Although the distance is great between my family and me, we can call, email, and message each other, while the Koreans can’t use any of the modern technology to express a New Year’s greeting.
Now, the only ounce of hope for the proposal to be passed is South Korea agreeing to North Korea’s condition by resuming tours of the lucrative Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea. On Thursday, 9th of January, South Korea confirmed that they would discuss the tours only after the inter-Korean relations have improved significantly. In other words, the date for the next reunion is obscure, hidden away into the future with no clue. My heart goes out to all the elderlies in Korea, those who long for their last family reunion. I hope the result of an negotiation between North Korea and South Korea will always be in their favor.