Using North Korean Families as Bargaining Chips

My name is Daniel. I was an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and am now a writer who has
published four books including South Korea: Our Story by Daniel Nardini.
                           It should be one of the happiest things for those Korean families separated
between the North and South—family reunions. At first, I thought this was a good thing for former
family members who had not seen each other in decades to get to finally those they thought were dead
or did not know what had happened to them since the end of the Korean War. But, there is a very,
very dark side to even this. In the past, the North Korean government had hosted these reunions for
three purposes. The first was for propaganda value. Those North Korean families who were allowed 
to meet their long lost South Korean family members had to say ridiculous things such as how
wonderful the Kim dynasty is, or how North Korea is the greatest paradise on earth or that none of
these reunions would be possible without the “supreme leader” (never mind the fact that the North
Korean government has cut off all mail, radio and any other type of communication with the families).
The other thing these reunions are used for is getting cash from the South Korean government. These
reunions cannot take place if the price is not right. Finally, these reunions are allowed by the North
Korean government to advertise something that would benefit the North Korean government. In this
particular case Mount Kumgang. The fact that a large family reunion is taking place there is because
the North Korean government wants to advertise the prospect of South Korea breaking the economic
sanctions so that the North Korean government can get tens of millions of dollars for its tourist sites
that are plainly banned by both the United States and United Nations. Any way you look at it, the
North Korean families are these reunions are hostages, bargaining chips for the Kim dynasty.