Exploring The DMZ: The World’s Most Heavily Armed Border

Just a fifty minute drive from Seoul, one of the world’s most populated cities, lies the infamous Demilitarized Zone, an imaginary border where North and South Korea have been at an intense standstill since 1953.

Upon the creation of North and South Korea in 1948, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) became one of the most important fronts of the Cold War, with the Soviet Union supporting the North and the United States supporting the South.

Technically, the Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953, which created the border, never officially ended the war. So in all respect, the two countries are still at war today. Something the world is constantly reminded of every time the North threatens to attack or bomb the South, which is quite often.

Despite how dangerous that sounds, the DMZ is a world famous tourist spot, attracting tens of thousands of people each year.

Vehicles, planes and tanks used during combat in the Korean War are on display, along with other monuments, in Imjingak, a South Korean village only 7 km (4 miles) from the DMZ line.

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Imjingak is also the location of the Bridge of Freedom is, a former railroad bridge used by repatriated POWs and soldiers returning from the North.

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Here you can see the remains of the Gyeongui Train, which once ran back and forth between the two countries carrying materials and goods before the war.

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The Peace Bell is a monument built in 2000 for wishing peace and unification between two Koreas.

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Like any other area around the DMZ, Imjingak is highly fortified with tall barb-wired fences, a strong military presence and even thousands of land mines that are still buried underground from the war.

Only military personnel and families who’ve been here since before the Korean War began are allowed to live in this village.

Those who walk the streets and don’t identify themselves are shot on sight.

An average of about two North Korean refugees manage to sneak across the border and are found in the town each year.

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Many organizations and people within South Korea and around the world hope the two countries can one day again unify, or at the very least, become allies rather than enemies.

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Sources:
Adventure Korea
Wikipedia
Visit Korea
Association for Asian Studies
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