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Tough farewells for North and South Korean families, reunited for just three days

Thursday marked the end of an emotional three-day reunion for hundreds of North and South Korean families separated since the 1950's civil war.

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Tough farewells for North and South Korean families, reunited for just three days

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For hundreds of North and South Korean families reunited for the first time in over 60 years, it was time on Thursday (October 22) to say goodbye.

The emotional farewells marked the end of a three-day reunion organised by the governments of Pyongyang and Seoul, which have been at odds since the 1950-1953 Korean war.

South Korea has a lottery system for its citizens hoping to meet their family across the border, where the reunion was held, at the resort of Mount Kumgang. Participants were told not to discuss politics, and foreign news outlets were not allowed to cover the event.

“We will meet again when our countries are unified. That’s my wish,” said Chae Hoon Sik, an 88-year-old North Korean, sobbing and hugging his South Korean relatives.

Another reunion of several hundred more families is scheduled for Saturday.

Over the past fifteen years, at least 4,000 South Koreans have met relatives across the border through the lottery system. But farewells are always difficult, as family members have no idea whether they will ever meet again.