Divided Families: Soojin Park, Paul Lee, Ambassador Robert King
You’ve probably heard the Korean War referred to as an unfinished conflict – but that’s not just a reference to the frozen war on the Peninsula. The sudden outbreak of war in 1950 and the rapid movement of the battlefront up and down the peninsula left countless people separated from their family members. Children separated from their parents – siblings losing one another in the chaos.
The scale of this tragedy was so immense that reunions efforts by South Koreans to reunite with relatives within South Korea would be ongoing well into the 1980s. Of course, reuniting family members separated by the demilitarized zone between the Koreas proved more challenging – arguably increasingly so in the past two decades. Will there ever be closure for these last victims of the Korean War?
Our guests today – Woodrow Wilson Center’s Soojin Park and Paul Lee from the U.S. Institute of Peace are intimately familiar with efforts by both governments and non-governmental organizations to reunite divided families. They are joined by Korea Economic Institute’s non-resident fellow and former special envoy for North Korea human rights issues.
You can find the issues brief on divided families that Paul Lee drafted for the National Committee on North Korea here: