S.Korea, DPRK wrap up week-long family reunion event



South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) wrapped up the week-long reunion event on Monday for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hundreds of elderly South Koreans, who traveled to the DPRK's scenic Mount Kumgang resort to meet their long-lost relatives from the North, faced a two-hour farewell meeting from 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) Monday, ending the second stage of the three-day reunion event. The first round was wrapped up on Thursday.

The Oct. 20-26 reunion was agreed between the two Koreas in late August when top-level military officials met to defuse military tensions on the Korean Peninsula that had been put in danger of armed conflict.

On Saturday when the second round of the humanitarian event began, South Korea's nave vessels fired warning shots at a DPRK patrol boat after violating the western maritime border. The DPRK described it "provocative acts", harshly criticizing the shelling.

During the farewell gathering on the third and last day of the highly charged event, tearful scenes were spotted in tables in the mountain resort's banquet hall, according to a pool report.

Before parting with his elder brother from the North, Bae Sang- Suk, 60-year-old South Korean, yelled "Please let me meet (my brother) again. Please let me exchange letter (with my brother)."

Most of the participants, largely in their 80s and 90s, sobbed and wept during the farewell meeting as they knew that it would be the last chance to see and hear from each other. No direct exchange of letters and telephone call has been allowed since the Korean conflict ended with armistice in 1953.

The daughter of 93-year-old Lee Keum-Suk, who came to the mountain resort to meet his son living in the DPRK after more than six decades of separation, said that her mother was very sorrowful about not being able to sleep a single night with his son at a same room.

Only 12 hours were given to the participants through six sessions, including lunch and dinner gatherings in public and two communal meetings as well as only one private face-to-face time.