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Germany

Report: German Meets North Korean Husband After 47 Years

A 71-year-old German woman travelled to Pyongyang to meet her North Korean husband after 47 years apart, according to South Korean news reports Tuesday.

Cityscape with view over river

The reunion in Pyongyang is a first for the communist country

Renate Hong arrived with her two sons, aged 47 and 48, in the North Korean capital on July 25, the newspaper Joongang Ilbo said, quoting diplomats and sources close to Hong's family.

"Today my dream is finally realized," Hong said when departing for North Korea.

Reports on if, when and where she met her husband and father of her children, Hong Ok Geun, three years her senior, could not be confirmed, one of the story's authors said in Seoul. One report suggested that Renate Hong married Hong Ok Geun in 1960 when the North Korean man was in then-East Germany as a student. Their life together ended when the husband and all other North Korean students were recalled to their Stalinist homeland one year after their wedding.

In July 2007, she received a letter from him for the first time since his departure.

A first for the communist country

The reunification visit had been arranged upon invitation of the North Korean Red Cross after Hong had found out from the German Red Cross and the German foreign ministry that her husband was still alive and had a new family. When visiting South Korea last year, Hong asked both Korean leaders in a letter to allow her to meet her husband again.

The reunion is the first that North Korea's communist rulers have allowed with a non-South Korean foreigner, the paper said.

Hong and her sons were expected back in Germany on Tuesday.

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