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Come Together: North and South Korea

MOUNT KUMGANG, NORTH KOREA - AUGUST 26: North Koreans on a bus hold hands of their South Korean relatives to bid farewell after the separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort. Almost a hundred South Koreans crossed the heavily armed border to meet their separated families for the first time since the 1950-53 Korean War, during a family reunion at North Korea.
Lee Su-Kil-Korea Pool/Getty Images
MOUNT KUMGANG, NORTH KOREA - AUGUST 26: North Koreans on a bus hold hands of their South Korean relatives to bid farewell after the separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort. Almost a hundred South Koreans crossed the heavily armed border to meet their separated families for the first time since the 1950-53 Korean War, during a family reunion at North Korea.

Although the Korean War technically never ended, North and South Korea are acting more peacefully toward each other than they have in a long time.

Eighty-nine families separated before and during the war were reunited for the first time in over six decades last week. It was the first reunion event since 2015, and more are scheduled to occur over the coming weeks.

Here’s a graphic on family reunions in a divided Korea over the years, from Reuters.

What does this reconciliatory gesture mean? From The New York Times:

Although the two countries remain locked in a political standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons program, these reunions are seen as an important step toward reaffirming the countries’ shared history and culture. But they are also a sobering reminder of how far apart the capitalist South and the totalitarian North have drifted since the war.

Leaders of North and South Korea also announced earlier this month that they would hold a third summit in Pyongyang in September. And South Korea is moving forward with a plan to open a “liaison office” in North Korea sometime this year.

As relations thaw, what would it take for North and South Korea to reunify? And what role, if any, does the United States play in the prospect for peace?

*Show produced by Bianca Martin, text by Kathryn Fink*.

GUESTS

Victor Cha, Professor, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; senior adviser and Korea Chair, CSIS; author of “The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future” and former director of Asian Affairs at the White House National Security Council @VictorDCha

Jean H. Lee, Director, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy Woodrow Wilson Center; @newsjean

Ann Babe, Independent journalist; contributor, The California Sunday Magazine @annebabe

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5

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