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Korea's lost generations finally meet

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South Korean Park Yang-Gon (L) meets with his North Korean brother Park Yang-Soo during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

South Korean Park Yang-Gon (L) meets with his North Korean brother Park Yang-Soo during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

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South Korean Ryu Young-Shik (L),92, meets with his North Korean relatives during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

South Korean Ryu Young-Shik (L),92, meets with his North Korean relatives during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

Getty Images

South Korean Kim Sung-Yoon (L), 96, meets with her North Korean sisters during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

South Korean Kim Sung-Yoon (L), 96, meets with her North Korean sisters during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

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South and North Korea separated family members arrive the Mount Kumgang resort to attend a welcome dinner in North Korea

South and North Korea separated family members arrive the Mount Kumgang resort to attend a welcome dinner in North Korea

REUTERS

South Korean Lee Young-shil, 87, right, meets with her North Korean sister Lee Jong Shil, 84, during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting

South Korean Lee Young-shil, 87, right, meets with her North Korean sister Lee Jong Shil, 84, during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting

AP

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South Korean Park Yang-Gon (L) meets with his North Korean brother Park Yang-Soo during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years

The first reunions of North and South Koreans in more than three years came too late for 90-year-old Seo Jeong-suk. She died in South Korea just 15 days ago.

So the daughter she grew old with, Kim Yong-ja, could not reintroduce her to the one she had not seen in more than 60 years. Kim (68) could only sob and hand her long-lost sister a framed photograph of Seo. Kim Yong Sil clasped the photo to her chest and said, "It's Mom's photo."

But dozens of elderly Koreans wept and embraced in a rush of words and emotion yesterday at North Korea's Diamond Mountain resort, in a rare period of detente between two bitter rivals that were once a single country. The reunions were all the more poignant because the participants will part again in a few days, likely forever. Yesterday's reunions were arranged after impoverished North Korea began calling recently for better ties with South Korea, in what outside analysts say is an attempt to win badly needed foreign investment and aid.

Irish Independent