North and South Korean family members separated since the 1950-53 Korean War met on Thursday in the first reunion after three years, a news report said.

A group of 82 selected South Koreans accompanied by 58 family members met 180 North Korean relatives at a hotel in the coastal resort of Mount Kumgang in the North, the South’s Yonhap news agency said.

They included Son Ki Ho, 90, who said he was looking forward to seeing his daughter for the first time since he left her behind in the North.

“The image of my daughter waving her hands to me when we parted is still vivid in my eyes,” the report quoted him as telling reporters before he set off.

Kang Wan Koo, 81, who fought for the South during the conflict, was to be reunited with his elder brother, who was conscripted into the North’s army, Yonhap said.

After the first round of meetings, from Sunday to Tuesday, 88 North Koreans selected by Pyongyang were to hold their own reunions in Kumgang, with 361 relatives from the South.

The first meetings were held in 1985, with several more from 2000 to 2010. None have been held since October of that year. Contact across their border through letters, emails or phone calls is usually impossible.

The latest reunions come as tensions between the Koreas are running high ahead of joint military manoeuvres by US and South Korean forces scheduled for Monday.

Pyongyang threatened to cancel the latest reunions over the manoeuvres, which it condemns as provocation, but backed down after high-level talks.

More In: World | International | News