Korean Family Reunions

Published: 8.24.2018
Level 3   |   Time: 2:57
Accent: British
BBC Global News Podcast (8.22.2018)

Estranged Korean families separated by the Korean War are meeting again in North Korea.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • under supervision [exp] - being watched carefully
  • a reunion [n] - a meeting of people who have not seen each other for a long time
  • a resort [n] - an expensive hotel
  • reclaim [v] - get again
  • a ballroom n] - a large room used for dancing.
  • choreographed [adj] - very carefully planned and controlled
  • a great deal of [exp] - a lot of
  • Time is running out. [exp] - There is not a lot of time remaining.

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. When did the Korean War end?

  2. How did families that were separated by the war keep in contact after the war?
    by writing letters
    by email
    They didn't keep in contact.

  3. How does the woman describe the meetings?
    They lasted only a few hours.
    They was a lot of food.
    They were full of joy.
    They didn't seem very free.

  4. Where did the families meet?
    On the border
    In South Korea
    In North Korea

  5. How did the South Korean families travel there?
    They walked.
    They took a bus.
    They arrived by boat.

  6. How many families met at this event?
    3 to 5
    more than 20

  7. Who did Cho Hoon-do meet?
    her mother
    her father
    her sister
    her brother

  8. What does the North Korean woman say about her sister?
    She is beautiful.
    She used to be beautiful.
    She looks very old.

  9. What details does the woman give about the meetings?
    The location is quite small and ugly.
    They are taking place in a ballroom.
    There are many cameras.
    The meetings are very private.
    The event is very disorganized.

  10. How many days will the event last?

  11. What have the families been complaining about?
    The reunions are very disorganized.
    The reunions are too planned.
    The reunions are in North Korea.

  12. Where does Yoon Hyung-yoo want to go in North Korea?
    To the capital.
    To the border.
    To his sister's home.
    To his birthplace.
    To his parent's graves.

  13. Why is Wang Rae-ha angry?
    The events are too small.
    The reunions took place in North Korea.
    The reunions are too short.

  14. How many people in South Korea are waiting to meet their family members in North Korea?
    about 50 000
    about 55 000
    about 57 000

  15. Why is the South Korean government under pressure to organize more of these reunions?
    North Korea is making more of an effort to organize the meetings.
    The separated families are getting older.
    The meetings are not private enough.

  16. How many people waiting to take part in the event are over the age of 90?
    20 percent
    40 percent
    80 percent

triangle Script

A group of North and South Koreans met today for the first time in more than 60 years. Thousands of families were forcibly separated by the Korean War, which ended in 1953. They've had no kind of contact since. Today for just a few hours and under strict supervision, the first group came together. Korean family members from the south and mostly elderly traveled by bus to the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea. Just before we recorded this podcast, they had a reunion meal, and our Asia Pacific correspondent Celia Hatton has been following this story.

Dozens of families meeting, trying to reclaim decades of lost time after being separated by the Korean border. Cho Hyung-do, who is 86, was reunited with her younger brother and her 89 year old sister Sho Soon-do, who both live in North Korea. There were tears as the sisters hugged.

I’m so thankful and grateful that you could come here. Wasn’t it hard to get here. It was hard right. I know it was hard. I remember how beautiful you were.

I finally get to meet you after living for so long.

These meetings are taking place in what looks like a large hotel ballroom. There are lots of people, lots of cameras, lots of microphones. They are not private at all. The families can only meet for 11 hours over the next two days. Each session is carefully planned. Some of the relatives have criticized the fact that the reunions are so heavily choreographed. Yun Hyung-yoo was one of the South Koreans who’s at the reunion. He went to see his sister, who he left in the north 70 years ago.

I want to tell the world that we should allow separated families to me whenever they want, instead of how it is now with few people meeting rarely. I don't want a reunion like this. I want to go back where I was born in my old home. My parents passed away, so I would want to visit their graves in the north as well. That should be how separated families are reunited.

Others in South Korea are upset because they've never been selected to take part in the family reunions. People like Wang Rae-ha, whose mother lives or lived in North Korea.

Too much time has passed by, and it is over now. I don’t think she is alive. 100 people per event. When can we meet our loved ones? After all of us are dead? 100 people per event is just meaningless. There are fifty thousand people waiting all over the country.

Fifty seven thousand to be exact, and they're getting older. Seoul is under a great deal of pressure to arrange more gatherings. The South Korean authorities say that more than 40 percent of the people on the waiting list are in their 80s and another 20 percent are over 90. So time is running out.

Celia Hatton, our Asia Pacific correspondent.

Building Robots in School
Air Pollution & Intelligence