In the News – S. Korea to resume recording video messages for separated families
SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) — South Korea will resume recording video messages of families here who parted from their parents, children or siblings in the North during the Korean War, officials said Monday.
Since the first summit meeting between the two divided Koreas in 2000, the two countries have arranged reunions of separated family members twice or three times a year.
But the humanitarian events came to a halt in September 2010, amid the deepening Inter-Korean political tensions. As part of the reunion gatherings, video messages from families in the South are given to their family members in the North for those who cannot travel to the event location.
Several thousand separated family members die every year, yearning to reunite with their spouses, children or siblings whom they had to part with due to the 1950-53 Korean War and the truce which left the Korean Peninsula divided thereafter.
“We decided to produce video messages, which are to be delivered to family members in North Korea after the reunion events restart,” a government official said. The decision to resume the video messages after a four-year hiatus was made because an increasing number of divided family members in the South are dying of old age, the official said.
The South Korean Red Cross, which took over the video project from the Ministry of Unification, will start the production after conducting a demand survey among all the separated family members in South Korea next month, the official said.
“It is deplorable that about 3,000-4000 divided family members pass away every year due to old age,” a Red Cross official said. “The video messages will feature family members’ living images as well as their messages to families in the North.”
As of the end of June, a total of 128,713 people were registered with the government as having family members in the North. Among them only 77,122 are alive. Nearly 80 percent of those alive are now over the age of 70.