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N. Korea-born baby not quite at home in South

The first South Korean baby born in the North came to the South on Tuesday, but her mother said her home will always be in North Korea.
/ Source: Reuters

The first South Korean baby born in the North came to the South on Tuesday, but her mother said her home will always be Pyongyang.

Hwang Seon was visiting the North to see a festival when she went into labor on Oct. 10, earlier than scheduled. She was the first woman from the South to give birth in the communist state known formally as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“I’m grateful that Pyongyang is her hometown because that was made possible by how much the relationship between the South and the North has improved,” Hwang told reporters after crossing the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone border to the South.

She said the care given by doctors and nurses at the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital had been exceptional.

“It was a very happy period of incarceration,” Hwang said of her two-week stay in the clinic, which visitors consider one of the top medical centers in the impoverished country.

Hwang faced a disappointment on her return with her as yet unnamed baby because the father was not there to meet them.

“I hope that the baby’s father, who is wanted under the National Security Law, will come home soon so that we can go to Pyongyang together on the baby’s first birthday,” Hwang said.

She was referring to a key anti-communism law in the South that many younger South Koreans consider anachronistic. Hwang did not elaborate what charges her husband was wanted for under the wide-ranging law, nor where he was.

The baby’s nationality is South Korean, but Hwang said she hoped the girl would soon be able to say she was just from Korea.

Hwang returned with her baby through the border village of Panmunjom on the day the South said Pyongyang had confirmed 21 South Korean prisoners of war and abductees were still alive in the North. The two Koreas have been split by the Demilitarized Zone since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce.