History was made on Apr. 27, 2018 when Kim Jong-un crossed over to South Korea. He is the first North Korean leader to do so since 1945 — when the division of the Korea officially happened.
I never imagined seeing such an event in my lifetime. Korea is my motherland, where I was born. My family — aunts, uncles, cousins — live there.
When I was born in the 1960s, the country was trying to recover from Japanese colonialism and the Korean War. These traumatic events devastated the country economically, socially, and spiritually.
When Japan was defeated at the end of WWII, the U.S. controlled the southern part of the peninsula while the Soviets controlled the north. Then, in 1948, two distinct governments were established: One in Pyongyang led by Kim Il-Sung and the other in Seoul led by Syngman Rhee.
Tensions between the two countries finally led to war in 1950. The United States and other U.N. member countries supported the government of South Korea with troops and aid while North Korea was supported by the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union. An armistice agreement ended the fighting in 1953 but a peace treaty has not been signed and a state of war continues to exist on the Korean peninsula.
This division divided families, friends, and neighbors. When family members went south during the war, they believed it would be temporary. They anticipated reunification with families they left behind. But this was not the case.
- for the rest of this piece, please visit the Sojourners site.