We spent the morning at the DMZ. What is the DMZ?
No it’s not the DMV( Department of Motor Vehicles…. and depending what time of day you go, it feels like you could spend the day at the DMV).
The DMZ is The Korean Demilitarized Zone. It is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ runs along the 38th parallel north and cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. It was created as part of the Korean Armistice Agreement between North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and the United Nations Command forces in 1953.
The DMZ is 250 km long, approximately 4 km wide and despite its name is the most heavily militarized border in the world. Since November 15, 1974, the South has discovered that four tunnels crossing the DMZ have been dug by North Korea. Upon their discovery, North Korea claimed that the tunnels were for coal mining,however, no coal has been found in the tunnels.The tunnels are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. Each shaft is large enough to permit the passage of an entire infantry in one hour, though the tunnels are not wide enough for tanks or vehicles. All the tunnels run in a north-south direction and do not have branches. Part of our day at the DMZ was a guided tour through the third tunnel.
There is also an area called the Joint Security Area.The Joint Security Area is the ONLY portion of the DMZ where South and North Korea forces stand face-to-face. It is often called the “Truce Village” in both the media and various military accounts. This area is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and, until March 1991, was also the site of military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command. You can do a tour of this area…It is a little un nerving especially when before being allowed to enter this area at the DMZ, tourists are given a briefing during which they must sign a document which states, in part, “The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action. Ummm….I don’t think so! We were close enough! Especially when there is currently periodic unrest between the two countries.
It was VERY interesting and it’s the places like this that we visit where history becomes REAL! Photography was limited on this tour. We were told where and when pictures were allowed and We had to respect the fact there were areas for photos and other areas that were off limits.
So…Here are just a few pics…