SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — More than 3,600 South Koreans died last year without having a chance to reunite with their family members in North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War-driven separation, government data showed Saturday.
A total of 3,647 people died last year among around 134,000 applicants who had registered with the government for family reunions, according to the data from the unification ministry.
As of the end of last year, the number of surviving members of such families had reached 42,624, with almost 66 percent of the total aged 80 or older, the data showed.
Since the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 21 rounds of face-to-face family reunions events, including the latest one in August 2018.
State-arranged family reunion events have been halted amid frosty inter-Korean relations following the no-deal summit between the North and the United States in Hanoi in early 2019.
On the eve of the Chuseok fall harvest holiday in September 2022, Unification Minister Kwon Young-se proposed talks with the North to discuss the issue of families torn by the war. But Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul’s offer.
The two Koreas remain technically at war, as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.