Family reunions postponed by North Korean authorities


North Koreans part with South Korean relatives after a family reunion in 2010.


Kim Ho-Young — Korea Pool

North Korea has decided to postpone the resumption of long-awaited family reunions between North and South, blaming South Korean "hostility" for the decision. 

The North blamed South Korean policies for the decision to halt the reunions, wrote the BBC. "As long as the South's conservatives deal [with] inter-Korean relations [with] hostility and abuse... such a basic humanitarian issue as family reunions cannot be resolved," a statement from the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea read. 

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South Korea's Reunification Ministry condemned the decision, deeming it "inhumane" and "unilateral," according to AFP. "The breach of a hard-won agreement by the North would bring inter-Korean relations back to confrontation. There will be nothing for the North to gain," the ministry said. 

Many of the families hoping to reunite with their loved ones haven't seen each other since 1953, when the Korean War ended. The reunions were slated to take place from September 25 to September 30 within North Korea. 

The reunions continued through the 2000s but were halted suddenly in 2010, after North Korea's decision to shell Yeonpyeong Island.

More than 20,000 people were able to avail themselves of the reunions before they were ceased, notes Yonhap, while many aging Koreans are eager to see family members one last time. 

Tensions between the two nations have been running high ever since, although negotiations over a resumption of operations at the Kaesong joint industrial area had led some to see hope on the horizion. 

Here is Voice of America footage of these reunions, prior to their halt in 2010.