(Locator: Honolulu, Hawaii)
Seo Kim/Korean-American (looking through pictures): “This is my mother.”
Faded photographs and fading memories are all Seo (SAY-oh) Kim have to
remind him of the family he left behind more than five decades ago when
he fled North Korea.
Seo Kim/Korean-American (looking through pictures): “This is my mother
and my mother’s sister.”
For 55 years, he knew nothing about his relatives, not even whether they
were alive. He’d sent letters...
Seo Kim/Korean-American: “No answer, nothing.”
...but because of North Korea’s closed borders, families have been
painfully divided for more than half a century.
Seo Kim/Korean-American (looking through pictures): “This is other
Last year, a friend who was able to visit North Korea…
Seo Kim/Korean-American (looking through pictures): “These are my
younger two sisters.”
…brought these pictures and a letter from Kim’s younger sister: rare
More than 300,000 Korean-Americans live an ocean away from relatives or
friends still in North Korea.
Sung Bae/Christ United Methodist Korean Church: “Those people are really
anxious to visit North Korea or at least to know about families and
United Methodist Sung Bae (bay) and his church, Christ United Methodist
Korean Church of Honolulu, are working with a national organization to
pressure the U.S. and North Korean governments to open the lines of
communication –before family ties are forever lost.
Sung Bae: “We try to raise our voice, get together and tell the U.S.
government please consider about us. We still really want to visit or
know about our family situation in North Korea.”
Seo Kim: “Not easy, though.”
It won’t be easy. But for those who yearn for family connections, it
would be worth it.
The organization is called Saemsori. About 1,000 people in the United
States have signed up to support its efforts to open communications with
those living in North Korea.
For more information, go to