Feb. 25 - South and North Korean families torn apart by the Korean War say tearful goodbyes to each other after the second round of reunion in the North. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Elderly South Koreans said tearful goodbyes to their relatives in North Korea on Tuesday (February 25) after their short reunions, the first time they have seen each other since their separation due to the 1950-53 Korean War. On Sunday (February 23), 88 elderly South Koreans selected for the second group, accompanied by 357 family members to help them, crossed the border to the North for the second round of rare reunions. After the emotional reunions, the South Korean family members held the hands of their North Korean relatives through the windows of the bus before it left the reunion venue. For many of those making the trip to Mt. Kumgang, it will be the last chance to meet separated loved ones. The reunions used to be held on average annually, but have not taken place for three years as tensions between the two Koreas spiralled higher after the South said the North sank one of its naval vessels in 2010. In later months, the North shelled a South Korean island and Pyongyang threatened nuclear attacks last year. Last September, the North abruptly announced an indefinite postponement of reunions that had been scheduled for shortly after the Korean Thanksgiving holidays. On February 14, North and South Korea agreed to proceed with reunions of families separated by the Korean War despite an earlier North Korean demand that they could only go ahead if the South postponed military exercises with the United States. The six days of family reunions take place under the cloud of a U.N. report on human rights abuses in North Korea, which investigators have said were comparable to Nazi-era atrocities. They have said North Korean security chiefs and possibly even leader Kim Jong Un himself should face international justice. Pyongyang has rejected the report, describing it as a concoction by the United States and its allies, Japan and the European Union.