As students who have taken history classes may know, the war between North Korea and South Korea was ended not by a treaty of peace, but by an armistice. This means that the fighting has been suspended until peace is finalized, an endeavor that has since not been achieved.
The war resulted in the separation of countless of Korean families. No interaction through mail, phone, or internet has been allowed since the war. Since then, the two Koreas have agreed to occasionally allow affected families to reunite for a small time. However, due to recent tensions between the two countries, the practice has been put on hold since 2010.
Last week, South Korea made an appeal to the North to hold reunions between the dates of February 17 to 22. North Korea did not respond for a week but finally broke the silence and agreed to begin discussing the idea on the 12th of February in a border village called Panmunjom. This was a late but welcome response for South Korea.
Between 1985 and 2010 an estimated 22,000 Koreans met their long lost family during these reunions, but about 73,000 have still not seen their family since the war. This is exceptionally emotional since many of these people are well into their old age and wish to see their separated relatives before they pass.