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Families prepare ahead of the reunions

Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 01:37

Feb. 16 - Separated family members in North and South Korea prepare to meet relatives during reunions set to take place later this week. Julie Noce reports.

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81 year old Jang Choon reads a letter from his long lost brother in North Korea who he's preparing to meet for the first time. Jang is one of 84 South Koreans chosen at random to attend a cross border family reunion- in which families torn apart by the 1950-53 Korean War are allowed to meet for a brief period at a resort in the North. Of the some 128,000 people from separated families just over 50% are still alive. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 81-YEAR-OLD JANG CHOON SAYING: "I swore to myself, 'I must not die before I meet them (siblings). I must endure whatever pain comes my way.'" Families separated by the world's most heavily fortified border cannot travel, write or even call each other. And although the two Koreas have bee holding the reunions since 2000, they are in no way guaranteed. A reunion scheduled for September of 2013 was cancelled at the last minute by the North dashing the hopes families in both countries. 86 year Hong Sing-ja was one of them. While getting physical therapy so she's able to attend the reunion, she sings a song and wipes a tear from her eye. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 86-YEAR-OLD HONG SHIN-JA SAYING: "It must not to be canceled, no cancellation this time. I want to go before I die. I am old and my sister is old as well. We have to meet when we alive." The reunion is scheduled for February 20th and will last six days.

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Families prepare ahead of the reunions

Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 01:37