Historic Korean summit prompts memories for Kim

PUBLISHED: 17:27 20 June 2018

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

For one Sidmouth woman, the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had a particular poignancy.

Kim Jagger with husband KenKim Jagger with husband Ken

Kim Jagger was born in Korea in 1954, the year after the Korean conflict ended, though there was never any official end to hostilities and the country has been divided ever since.

She said: “I watched it on TV. We all hope and pray that it will mean peace. I can’t believe that it’s really happening.”

The summit in Singapore also brought back memories of the devastating impact the war had on her own family.

Her uncle was left in the north of the country and the family never heard from him again.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

The grandmother of two came to the UK in 1976. She now lives in Balfours in Sidmouth with her retired engineer husband Ken.

Her daughter Andrea lives in Worcester and son Daniel, an electrician, is working overseas.

At the time the conflict broke out in 1950, her mother and uncle were working in business together in the north of the country. Her uncle persuaded her mother to seek the relative safety of the south. She never heard from him again.

“We never knew whether he was alive or dead. Even now I don’t know if he survived the war,” Kim said.

Kim Jagger with husband KenKim Jagger with husband Ken

Her grandmother’s two other sons also died in the conflict. One was a police officer and the other in bomb disposal.

“She was never the same again after that,” Kim said. Her mother and one other daughter survived.

As Kim was growing up, the country was devastated by the war. Towns and cities were razed to the ground and many people were living in tents.

There were not enough buildings to accommodate all the schoolchildren so two groups would go for half a day each.

“There was hardship like you can’t imagine and my generation have been driven to create a new country,” she said.

“They worked hard and they did everything they could to succeed.”

Kim hopes that the treaty signed by the United States and North Korea will eventually lead to the reunification of the country.

“I’m not sure Kim Jong-un will let go that quickly but I have a faith because I’m a Christian so we are just trusting and praying,” she said.

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