The Korea Herald


[Graphic News] 16,000 died awaiting reunions with cross-border family in 5 years

By Nam Kyung-don

Published : July 11, 2023 - 08:01

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Approximately 16,000 elderly South Koreans are presumed to have died over the past five years while awaiting reunions with family members in North Korea who were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, data showed.

According to data from the Unification Ministry, around 3,400 to 3,700 people have died every year since August 2018, when the last face-to-face family reunion event was held, with the estimated total number of deaths coming to around 16,000. The data was released by Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the main opposition Democratic Party.

Since the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 21 rounds of reunion events, but they have been suspended amid frosty inter-Korean relations following the no-deal summit between the North and the United States in Hanoi in early 2019.

As of the end of May, out of 133,680 applicants who had registered with the government for family reunions, a total of 92,534 people have died, accounting for 69.2 percent. (Yonhap)