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Man Meets Son in Tearful Inter-Korean Family Reunion

Posted September. 28, 2009 08:26,   


Jeong Dae-chun of South Korea, 95, expressed regret while holding the hands of his youngest son Jeong Wan-shik, 68, a resident of North Korea whose health was far worse than his father’s.

At the reunions of Korean families separated by the Korean War over the weekend at the North’s Mount Kumgang area, the two had not seen each other for 60 years. At the sight of his son’s fleshless body, dark skin and shaky hands clearly indicating sickness, the father said, “How can you be more decrepit than your old father? You were worried sick about finding your lost father.”

Jeong Dae-chun kept on stroking his son’s hands.

Jeong Wan-shik took great effort to steady his hands, saying, “My hands began shaking last year due to a neurological disorder.”

Jeong Wan-shik’s son Myeong-nam, who tried to assure his newly met grandfather, said, “(Jeong Wan-shik) recently began to seek professional medical help.”

Nevertheless, Jeong Dae-chun shed tears again when his son said, “The rest of our family are all dead.”

Jeong Dae-chun then said, “Now that I’ve met my youngest son, my wish has finally come true.”

A businessman who traveled between his hometown of Pyongsan, Hwanghae Province, in present-day North Korea and Seoul, Jeong Dae-chun had to stay in South Korea after the Korean War broke out in 1950. He said he had always longed to see his daughter and two sons in North Korea.

His son in South Korea, Jeong Tae-geun, 48, said, “(Our father) always said he missed his children in North Korea. He applied to attend a reunion under his South Korean name Jeong Dae-chun for the past 10 years. When that didn’t work, he used his old name Jeong Un-yeong and he finally received a reply from North Korea this time.”

The oldest South Korean member of the first reunion group was initially Park Yang-shil, 96, but could not attend the reunion after suffering an accident in her home in Busan. Her son Lee Dae-won, 63, was sent instead to see his younger sister and Park’s daughter, Ri Eon-hwa, 61.