Couple Reunites After Korean War Forced Them To Separate 65 Years Ago

A couple separated by the Korean War reunited 65 years later.

The battle between the North and South of the Korean Peninsula began in 1950, and as a result, many people became residents of North Korea while their relatives remained in the South, according to The New York Times.

This was the case with at least one married couple: South Korea's 85-year-old Lee Soon-kyu and 83-year-old Oh In-se of North Korea.

The two were separated while Lee was five months pregnant. They were only married for seven months.

Lee had no way of finding out if her husband was alive when the war ended, and South Koreans are still prohibited from exchanging letters, phone calls or emails with North Korean relatives.

So in 1978, she accepted Oh died and since held rituals every year in his memory.

North Korea and South Korea agreed last month to allow North Koreans to briefly reunite with South Korean family members. Around the same time, Lee was told by the South Korean Red Cross Oh, the father of the son she raised alone, was alive.

The reunion began on Tuesday at the Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea where 96 North Koreans met 389 South Korean relatives in the first of several rounds of reunions.

Each family will take part in group and private sessions over the course of three days.

Lee, who never remarried, was accompanied by her 64-year-old son.

According to The New York Times, she told Oh,

I can't tell how much I missed you. I have wept so much thinking of us that there are no tears left in me.

Lee presented her husband with an old wedding photograph, as well as a new watch with both of their names inscribed on the back.

Oh took Lee's hand and reportedly told her,

My dear, I didn't know that the war would do this to us.

Lee and Oh will spend just 12 hours together before separating on Thursday when the next round of reunions begin.

Approximately 66,000 South Koreans, more than half of whom are aged 80 and up, are waiting to be reunited with North Korean relatives.

South Korea reportedly uses a lottery to select reunion participants while North Korea reportedly puts citizens who have been loyal to the government first in line.

Citations: South and North Korean Families, Separated by War 65 Years Ago, Reunite Briefly (The New York Times)