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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 19, 2018)
ASIA / PACIFIC
February 19, 2018
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 3
With Koreas Olympic thaw, war-split families want reunions
By Hyung-Jin Kim
The Associated Press
ANGNEUNG, South Korea —
When Kang Hwa-seon married
into a family that lived in a
thatched house in this eastern coastal city
in the early 1940s, she was in essence a
mother to her little brother-in-law. She fed
him, took him to school, watched him grow
into a handsome boy who carried her baby
daughter on his shoulder.
Then, during the Korean War, they were
In late 2015, she travelled to the North
and tearfully reunited with her brother-in-
law. By then, Song Dong Ho was an
81-year-old man with a gaunt, wrinkled
face. They met under now-dormant family
reunion programs that the two Koreas
hold when relations are good. Since then,
she’s had no word from him.
Recently, however, her hopes for a
second meeting have grown. South Korea’s
first Winter Olympics — unfolding in her
neighborhood, of all places — have caused
the Koreas to ease animosities and
cooperate after a period of heightened
nuclear tension that triggered fears of a
second Korean War.
“I just want to see him one last time
before I die,” Kang, 93, said during an
interview at her traditional tile-roof house
in Gangneung, on the same site where that
thatched house once stood. “He was like
my son or a little brother.”
During the 1950-1953 Korean War,
uncounted families were completely
separated. Only a portion have been
allowed to reunite with long-lost relatives,
albeit briefly, under humanitarian
programs that began in 2000.
REUNION HOPES. Kang Hwa-seon, center,
sits with her nephew, Song Yong-geun, left, and her
son, Song Young-jin, at her home in Gangneung,
South Korea, looking at pictures of a 2015 family re-
union she had with her brother-in-law. Kang and her
brother-in-law were separated after the Korean War
broke out in 1950. They saw each other briefly during
the family reunion program in 2015. She hopes the
current Olympics-inspired rapprochement could help
her to meet him again before she dies. (AP Photo/
Reunions are deeply emotional, often
pegged to a ticking clock. Most people who
apply are in their 70s at least, and they
don’t know if loved ones are still alive. Both
governments prohibit their citizens from
exchanging phone calls, letters, or e-mails.
It’s not clear if the current inclination
toward rapprochement will last after the
Olympics end on February 25 and help
restart reunion programs.
Animosities could easily flare again once
Seoul and Washington launch their de-
layed springtime massive military drills,
which Pyongyang views as an invasion
But some say North Korea is serious
about its outreach this time. They cite a
Continued on page 10
Tank museum displaying 110 battle-worn tanks opens in Jordan
By Sam McNeil
The Associated Press
MMAN, Jordan — A museum
displaying 110 battle-worn tanks
from a century of wars in the
Middle East and from more distant
conflicts has opened in Jordan.
Curators at the Royal Tank Museum
collected armored vehicles over the past
decade, including some that served on both
sides of the Iran-Iraq war and in the
conflicts between Israel and its Arab
neighbors in the Golan Heights, Jordan,
Other contributions came from faraway
places, such as Azerbaijan, Morocco,
Taiwan, and Brunei. Most of the museum’s
tanks were made in America, reflecting
Jordan’s long-running alliance with the
Some pieces reached Jordan in a
particularly roundabout way, including a
World War II-era German tank used by the
Nazis in North Africa. A swastika-in-
palm-tree stencil marks it as one of the
German Africa Corps’ fleet of Field
Marshal Erwin Rommel. The Syrians had
bought the tank in the 1950s from
Czechoslovakia and deployed it against
Israel, then gave it to Jordan in 2009.
“The museum is telling the story of the
world through the history of tanks,” said
the museum’s general manager, Maher
The museum, the second in the region
after Israel’s Yad La-Shiryon, just opened.
On a recent morning, hundreds of
Jordanians lined up outside to be led
through the museum by guides, many of
them army veterans.
The 2,392-square-yard space also in-
cludes exhibits of historic battles in Syria,
Jerusalem, and Jordan, with loudspeakers
blaring gunfire, roars of diesel engines,
and fiery patriotic speeches. Life-size
replicas of soldiers staff turrets as tank
treads menace intricately crafted shrubs.
Dangling from a massive skylight is a
Cobra attack helicopter, of the type flown
by Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
The king decreed the creation of the
museum in 2007, launching the acquisi-
tion process led by chief curator Hamdan
Smairan. The retired major general who
commanded the Jordan military’s armored
corps began by reaching out to his
The world’s tank museums supported
the venture. The Tank Museum in Dorset,
England, and the Imperial War Museum
in London provided curatorial counsel.
Museums in the Czech Republic and
France exchanged tanks for Jordanian
An old friend of Smairan’s lobbied South
Africa successfully for the museum’s
World War II-era British Crusader tank.
Russia and Kazakhstan gave tanks to
Jordan’s king who then added them to the
collection, the curator said.
Along with World War II-era Sherman
and Tiger tanks, there are also Soviet and
The museum also illustrates Jordan’s
During World War I, as newly invented
tanks battled across Europe, Britain-
backed Arab irregulars waged a guerrilla
campaign against the German-allied
Ottoman Empire. The insurrection, which
became known as the Great Arab Revolt of
1917, was led by Abdullah I, the grand-
father of the current monarch and even-
tual founder of the Hashemite Kingdom of
An armored vehicle used in the revolt
rotates on a dais in the museum. It is
followed by tank exhibits telling the story
of Jordan in subsequent battles, including
the Mideast wars of 1967 and 1973.
The museum will eventually open an
exhibition field and offer rides on tanks
outside on site.
People walk past a tank and a mural depicting a
battle scene at the Royal Tank Museum in Amman,
Jordan. The museum, which features 110 battle-worn
tanks from a century of wars in the Middle East and
from more distant conflicts, has opened. Curators
collected the armored vehicles over the past decade,
including some that served in both sides of the
Iran-Iraq war and in the conflicts between Israel
and its Arab neighbors in the Golan Heights,
Jordan, and Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)
Have a safe
Year of the Dog!
February 16, 2018 to February 4, 2019
Minimize your risk to lead in
water from home plumbing
Elevated levels of lead in
drinking water were found
in 18 out of 134 recently tested
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Exposure to lead through
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Lead can cause health problems, especially for
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Follow these tips to reduce your exposure to lead:
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2. Run cold water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to flush out lead.
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4. Do not boil water to reduce lead. Boiling water does not
5. Clean faucet screens to remove trapped pieces of lead.
6. Install low-lead ﬁxtures or a lead-reducing ﬁlter.
Find out how to protect your family.
Contact the LeadLine at www.leadline.org
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