Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Demilitarized Zone "DMZ"

The Demilitarized Zone is on the 38th parallel stretching 160 miles long across the Korean peninsula. This DMZ is a result of the Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953. The Armistice Agreement was the agreement that the north and south would pull their troops back 2000 meters to create a buffer which is called the Military Demarcation Line. So, we went with the Osan Air force base tour bus, which if you ever come to Korea, this is the tour to get on. It is one of the few tours that you get to go into the actual DMZ. I believe that most of the tours are only able to around the outside. So this is where we stopped....

Imjingak (임진각), located 7 km from the Military Demarcation Line, is now at the forefront of tourism related to the Korean Conflict.

It was built in 1972 with the hope that someday unification would be possible. Three-storied Imjingak is surrounded by several Monuments, Unification Park and North Korea Center.
400 kinds of photos and documents showing the stark reality of North Korea are displayed in the North Korea Center of Unification Board. Outside Imjingak, there are 12 kinds of tanks and crafts on display that were used during the Korean Conflict.

xMangbaedan, which stands opposite of Imjingak, is famous for the place where people from North Korea visit and perform ancestral rites by bowing toward their hometown every New Years Day and Chuseok. The Bridge of the Freedom, South Koreans crossed when they came back to their mother country from North Korea, stands behind Mangbaedan.

In front of Imjingak, there is the Gyeongui Train Line which was destroyed during the Korean Conflict in 1950. It has been under construction since 2000. Every year many events for unification are held at Imjingak.

Imjingak is now one of the famous tourist spots for foreigners in Gyeonggi-do Province because it is possible to visit without going through any security check points. 

DMZ Tunnel #3

 The 3rd Tunnel was discovered on October 17, 1978. It is located 52km from Seoul. It was estimated that it took approximately an hour for 10,000 soldiers to move through the tunnel. When this tunnel was first discovered, North Koreans insisted it was made by South Koreans in a plot to invade North Korea. However, this theory proved eventually to be false.

Dora Observation Point

Observation Point is located at the northern edge of South Korea, where you can view life in North Korea. There are 500 observation seats where you will watch a short video on life in North Korea as seen on the other side of the river. It is located near the 3rd underground tunnel and Dora Mountain Station, and is so close to North Korea that it is possible to see Odu Mountain in Gaeseong and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Through telescopes, you can see the movements of North Korean soldiers. You will learn how Propaganda Village was built, along with some of the challenges North Koreans face. There is a museum that displays the history of the area along with artifacts of everyday life in a Communist country. An engraving on the top of the building facing the North proclaims “The end of division, the beginning of unification.”

Mt. Dora Train Station

Located 30 meters from the South Korean boundary fence of the northern part of the civilian controlled area, Dora Mountain Train Station is the northernmost Gyeongui-seon (Seoul-Sinuiju) Line train station in South Korea. It attracted worldwide attention with the visit of United States President Bush on February 20, 2002. When the South-North traffic becomes a reality with the reconnection of Gyeongui-seon Line, Dora Station will play a central role in the Asia-Europe Iron Silk Road that will connect with not only North Korea but also the greater countries of China, Russia and beyond.


The Joint Security Area (JSA) between the U.N. and North Korea is only 800 meters in diameter. It is outside the administrative control of both South and North Korea. The U.N. and North Korean sides each operate 6 guard posts with 35 security guards residing inside. Since the ax murder incident on 18 August 1976 by North Korean soldiers, security guards are forbidden to cross over to the opposing side's area.


The Military Armistice Commission (MAC) has held secretary's meetings, joint duty officer's meetings and general meetings for observation of the Armistice Agreement since its signing. General meetings have been suspended since a Korean Army General was assigned as the Chief Representative of the UNC in March 1998. Instead of the general meeting, Army General's Meetings have been held since. Informal contacts have been held between the UNC and North Korea since May 1994. Joint duty officer meetings can be called by either side.

Enough Information

The trip was awesome. Heather and I learned so much about Korea and about the conflicts between both sides. It was also great to see how South Korea was taking great steps in encouraging  peace and reconciliation.
Peace Bell

Prayers for Reunification
A Hope For Peace

Having fun....

Another shot of the JSA

inside the MAC Building....standing in North Korea

The Bridge of No Return

The Bridge of No Return

Also check out these interesting stories:

 Bridge of No Return

Axe Murder Insident 

Opperation Paul Bunyan

No comments:

Korean Fact #11: Old ladies in Korea, are called, "ajumas," and usually have feisty personalities.