Bittersweet

North and South Koreans Reunite

After more than 13 months, North Korea is allowing families who were separated across the border to reunite. Conditions are limited to age—most of the reunions are amongst the elderly who wish to see their family before they die—and for specific days at the border's Mt. Kumgang resort. Since the Koreas split 60 years ago, separated families have not been able to contact each other save for these rare occasions. In exchange, North Korea required South Korea to give hundreds of thousands of tons of rice and fertilizer, a fairly common bargain between the two countries. In years past, North Korea has turned to these family reunions when their economy is wrought and their agriculture is depleting, according to Professor Lee Woo Young at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. The program is sponsored by the Red Cross and has united nearly 20,000 families between North and South Korea.