After being separated for 68 years, a mother and son were finally able to hold each other in their arms again.
During the Korean War, 92-year-old Lee Keum-seom and her now 71-year-old son, Ri Sang-chol, ended up on opposite sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Lee Keum-seom found herself on the South side, while Ri Sang-chol found himself trapped on the North side.
Since both Koreas’ governments bar citizens from visiting and communicating across the border, most separated families have no idea what has happened to their loved ones.
Ri Sang-chol was just 4 years old the last time he saw his mother. After their separation, he lived with his father who, unfortunately, didn’t live to see this fateful day.
Ri Sang-chol brought his daughter-in-law to the reunion, which took place at a resort near Mount Kumgang, in North Korea. Lee Keum-seom brought her two daughters.
This mother and son were among the 89 families chosen to reunite under the Panmunjom Declaration, an agreement South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un signed in April as a step toward peace.
A staggering 57,000 families applied to reunite, but sadly time is running out. In South Korea, more than half of the 132,600 people who initially applied for reunions have passed away.
Lee Keum-seom and Ri Sang-chol were part of the first group of reunions, which began on August 20 and ended August 22. During these three days, the families met six times for a total of 11 hours.
To see their heartwarming reunions, check out the video here.