Reunited Korean families hold final farewell

Kim Bong Hak (right) of South Korea is fed by his sister Kim Pong Oak of North Korea during a meeting at a venue in North Korean resort area of Mount Kumgang on the second day of family reunions between North and South Korea on Feb 21, 2014. -- PHOTO
Kim Bong Hak (right) of South Korea is fed by his sister Kim Pong Oak of North Korea during a meeting at a venue in North Korean resort area of Mount Kumgang on the second day of family reunions between North and South Korea on Feb 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - North and South Korean families held a final farewell on Saturday after they were reunited for the first time since war divided them 60 years ago, knowing they will almost certainly never be together again.

On the third and last day of their brief, emotionally-charged reunions, 80 elderly South Koreans were allowed to meet with their Northern relatives for an hour before parting ways.

The families, the first of two batches who are being allowed to meet with each other, have spent a total of 11 hours on six occasions together since Thursday, including mass meetings over meals and a private reunion without media TV cameras.

Southerner Kim Yong-Ja carried the portrait of her mother Seo Jeong-Suk, who died at the age of 90 just two weeks before the reunions, to a meeting with her sister from the North.

"Mother, this is Young-Sil whom you wanted to see so much," she said as she held the portrait close to the face of her sister.

Mr Kim Dong-Bin, 80, met his sisters and a brother from the North.

"I'm very happy to see you all. Stay healthy and see you again after reunification," he said.

He gave them thick winter coats, pairs of boots and his own wristwatch.

Two other South Koreans had to cut their reunions short due to health issues, returning home Friday via ambulances, a media pool report said.

One of the two was Mr Kim Sung-Kyeong, 91.

"Thank you for surviving and living well," he told his children from the North before he was wheeled away on a gurney into an ambulance Friday.

"I don't have any regrets now. Please bury my remains in the hills at my hometown (in the North) when reunification comes," he told his other son, whom he fathered in the South.

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