In 1945, WW2 was finally finished, but newly started
'cold war era' made Korea-peninsula so important to
both communists and capitalists because of its location
in the far east Asia. But both communists and capitalists
had to make a deal, instead of fighting again to take
Korea for their own ideology and they decided to split
Korea-peninsula equally in size in 1945.
America government put south Korea under the military
trusteeship of their own from 1945 to 1948, because
South Korea didn't have any infrastructure for both
economy and politics. Korea had been ruled from1910
to 1945 by Japan, and therefore Korea couldn¡¯t'
t have any political and economical power and no choice
but to accept the decision about the trusteeship.
Likewise to North Korea by the Soviet-unions(Russia).
In1948 America government and South Korea politicians
made a suggestion to North Korea in order to make
united political system representing both. But this
proposal based on capitalism democracy was rejected
by communist North Korea. Therefore South Korea alone
conducted national elections for both president and
congress members, and the official name 'Republic
of Korea' has been used since then. At the same year
1948, North Korea established their own communist
government with the support of the Soviet unions.
At last on Jun 25th 1950, North Korea red army started
to invade South Korea, fully armed with Russian tanks
and rifles. It was at 4 o'clock Sunday morning. And
in a little more than 2 months, by the end of August,
North Korea occupied three-fourths(4ºÐÀÇ3)
of South Korea land. The area below Nakdong river
only remained for South Korea government. And at this
point America congress finally passed a bill to back
up South Korea on September 2nd 1950. and America
government started to intervene in the Korean War
militarily (Inchoen landing operation). With the support
of America government, South Korea took back Seoul
on September 27th, and in October advanced to the
point of the border of North Korea and China. That
became the last straw for China which was completely
communized in 1949. Chinese communist government no
longer allowed America's capitalism influence to spread
in the Far east Asia, so their red army began to come
down and push back America troops. Outnumbered by
Chinese red army, American and Korean soldiers got
into trouble, and 16 UN members dispatched their combat
soldiers to Korea peninsula for South Korea.
That is to say Korean war started only as a war between
2 Koreas but later it became another world war involving
In1953 the casualty of Korean war reached 6 million
already. Both communist sides and capitalist sides
realized either one could win the war and finally
signed the ceasefire agreement on July 27 1953. What's
really silly was that they began to talk about ceasefire
agreement since 1951, but they were not able to sign
it just because of the exchange rate of military prisoners.
They could've saved a lot of lives if they had reached
an agreement for the exchange rate of military prisoners.
The mistake of president Mr. Lee. : Mr. Lee really
hated communism to his bone. And he refused to sign
cease fire agreement. Therefore in the meeting for
the cease fire agreement South Korea government wasn't
there. It was the meeting of five nations. Namely
America, Britain, Russia, China, North Korea. That's
why South Korea government hasn't had authority over
the South Korea DMZ area, and people living in the
South Korea DMZ don't go to compulsory army service
and pay taxes except utility bill tax. So far since
the ceasefire agreement, UN has had the authority
over the south Korea DMZ.
Why they have villages in the DMZ : In 1951 one year
after Korean war started, the nations involved in
Korean war began to talk about the conditions of cease
fire agreement. And they built a meeting place which
later became JSA (PANMOONJOEM). And some farmers started
to collect near JAS because they found out the JSA
area was neutral zone and safe to live without any
attacks of bombs or soldiers. Even after the ceasefire
agreement was signed, they have been allowed to live
in there. Ironically the village people who had their
hometown right in the location of JSA was expelled.
The flags in DAESUNGDONG village and KIJUNGDONG village:
Since the Korean war, two villages(18km away from
each other) in the DMZ of both Koreas have played
propaganda activities. One of the well-known ones
was the competition for the height of the flags marking
two villages in the DMZ. In 1982 PAJU city local government
put up South Korea nation flag in the DAESUNGDONG
village. The height of the flag pole was 99m. The
size of the flag was 18m by 12m at the cost of $2000.
And North Korea responded to us with much bigger and
higher one. The North Korea flag pole was 159m high
and the size of the flag was 35m by 28m weighing 100
kg at the cost of $3000, which has become the world
record. The specially selected people living in the
DAESUNGDONG village have enjoyed relatively better
life than any other people in North Korea, because
they have played propaganda activities. The DAESUNGDONG
village was partially renovated in 1976 and then it
showed some newly-built apartments. But what¡¯s
funny was the apartment buildings turned out to be
fake buildings which were empty inside like Hollywood
The mark for the DMZ and the border: DMZ was made
to reduce the potential military conflicts which could
happen more often if we didn't have the military buffer
zone. Technically two Koreas are still at war because
we never signed any peace treaty. So if we didn't
have military buffer zone, it could lead to more contacts
between two Korea soldiers. If two Koreas' soldiers
met each other patrolling border, they could be engaged
in a shooting spree and kill each other. That kind
of trouble could result in another war. So to avoid
this risk, we have made military buffer zone which
is called DMZ.
They have clear marks for the DMZ
line which is made of barbed wire fence. (NLL :
northern limitation line ºÏ¹æÇÑ°è¼±,
SLL : southern limitation line ³²¹æÇÑ°è¼±).
They don't have barbed wire fence for the border.
They have set up picket fences which have signs
that says 'MDL' every 200m all the way from the
west coast to the east coast along the border line.
The only place which has clear border line mark
is JSA. The border line in JSA is made of a few
centimeters high concrete. In the meeting house
in JSA is a telephone on the meeting tables. The
telephone line serves as the border. They have set
up picket fences every 50m near JSA. The length
of the border from the west to the east is 250km/159mile.
Why they have clear border mark in JSA : One day
in JSA in 1976 when we didn't have clear border
mark, two US military officers were supervising
south Korean workers whose job was to trim one poplar
tree. The tree stood in between two of south Korea
GOP(general out post) in JSA, blocking the soldiers
of two GOP from exchanging signs. All of sudden,
a gang of North Korean soldiers showed up and insisted
that the tree belong to North Korea. That's how
the tragedy began. The North Korean soldiers took
away the axes of south Korean workers and ganged
up on the officers of the US army. The US officers
were axed to death. America president Mr.Jimmy Carter
exploded and announced 'Defense Readiness Condition
level 2' which is just one step below the readiness
for actual war. North Korea leader Kim ill sung
got really scared about the situation and asked
for the mediation of UN and sent a written apology
through JSA. And the case finally settled down.
Since the tragedy happened, they have drawn the
clear border mark in JSA. The telephone line serves
as the border in the meeting house of JSA.
The irony of DMZ: DMZ is a very dangerous area.
After the ceasefire agreement, both sides dropped
land mines. South Korea alone dropped one million
land mines by military helicopters. When they dropped,
it looked like butterflies were flying down from
the sky. So the land mine got the nickname 'butterfly'
by America air force.
Since November 15, 1974, the South has discovered
that four tunnels crossing the DMZ have been dug
by North Korea. This is indicated by the orientation
of the blasting lines within each tunnel. Upon their
discovery, North Korea claimed that the tunnels
were for coal mining. However no coal has been found
in the tunnels, which are dug through granite, but
some of the tunnel walls have been painted black
to give the appearance of anthracite.
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 division in one hour,
though the tunnels are not wide enough for tanks
of vehicles. All the tunnels run in a north-south
direction and do not have branches. Following each
discovery, engineering within the tunnels has become
progressively more advanced. For example, the third
tunnel sloped slightly upwards as it progressed
southward, to prevent water stagnation. Today, visitors
may visit the second, third and fourth tunnels through
The first of the tunnels was discovered by a South
Korean Army patrol, noticing steam rising from the
ground. The initial discovery was met with automatic
fire from North Korean soldiers. Five days later,
during a subsequent exploration of this tunnel,
U.S. Navy Commander Robert M. Ballinger and ROK
Marine Corps Major Kim Hah Chul were killed in the
tunnel by a North Korean explosive device. The blast
also wounded five Americans and one South Korean
from the United Nations Command.
The tunnel, which was about 1.2 m (4 ft) high by
0.9 m (3 ft) wide, estimated total length of 3,500
meters, extended more than 1,000 m (1,100 yd) beyond
the MDL into South Korea. The tunnel was reinforced
with concrete slabs and had electric power and lighting.
There were weapons storage and sleeping areas. A
narrow gauge railway with carts had also been installed.
Estimates based on the tunnel's size, suggest it
would have allowed approximately 2,000 Korean People¡¯s
Army soldiers (one regiment) to pass through it
The second tunnel was discovered on March 19, 1975
in the Central Sector of the DMZ about 13km north
of Cholwon. It is of similar length to the first
tunnel. It is located between 50 and 160 m (160
and 520 ft) below ground, but is larger than the
first, approximately 2 by 2 m (7 by 7 feet), estimated
total length of 3,500 meters. It is large enough
to move such heavy weapons as tanks, field artillery
and armored personnel carriers and capable of letting
pass 30,000 troops moving three to four abreast,
or a division strength per hour. A spacious troop
assembly area was carved out in the tunnel, which
has three exits.
Only 44km(27miles) from Seoul or less than an hour¡¯s
drive, the third tunnel was discovered on October
17, 1978. Unlike the previous two, the third tunnel
was discovered based on information provided by
a North Korean defector.
It is 1,635m (1.1 miles) long, 2 m (6.6 ft) high
and 2 m (6.6 ft) wide and penetrates 435meters south
of Military Demarcation Line at a point only 4 km
south of JSA. It runs through bedrock at a depth
of about 73 m (240 ft) below ground. It is apparently
designed for a surprise attack on Seoul from North
Korea, and can easily accommodate 30,000 men per
hour along with light weaponry. Upon discovery of
the third tunnel, the United Nations Command accused
North Korea of threatening the 1953 armistice agreement
signed at the end of the Korean War. Its description
as a "tunnel of aggression" was given
by the South, who considered it an act of aggression
on the part of the North.
A total of four tunnels have been
discovered so far, but there are believed to be
up to ten more. South Korean and U.S. soldiers regularly
drill in the Korean Demilitarized Zone in hopes
of finding more.
Initially, North Korea denied building
the tunnel. However, observed drill marks for dynamite
in the walls point towards South Korea and the tunnel
is inclined so that water drains back towards the
northern side of the DMZ (and thus out of the way
of continued excavation).
North Korea then officially declared it part of
a coal mine; black "coal" was painted
on the walls by retreating soldiers to help confirm
this statement. However, statements in the tunnel
claim that there is no geological likelihood of
coal being in the area. The walls of the tunnel
where tourists are taken are observably granite,
a stone of igneous origin, whereas coal would be
found in stone of sedimentary origin.
Photos are forbidden within the
tunnel, which is now well guarded, though it is
a busy tourist site, where visitors enter by going
down a long steep incline that starts in a lobby
with a gift shop. The South Koreans have blocked
the actual Military Demarcation Line in the tunnel
with three concrete barricades. The third is visible
by tourists visiting the tunnel and the second is
visible through a window in the third.
A fourth tunnel was discovered on March 3, 1990,
north of Haen town in the former Punchbowl battlefield.
The tunnel's dimensions are 2 m ¡¿ 2 m and it is
145 m underground, the method of construction is
almost identical in structure to the second and
the third tunnels. With this discovery, we know
that North Korea has dug invasion tunnels along
the entire stretch of the front line.
Imjingak is a park of located on the banks of the
Imjin River in the city of Paju.
The park has many statues and monuments regarding
the Korean war.
It was built in 1972 to console those from both
sides who are unable to return to their hometowns,
friends and families because of the division of
There is a memorial alter called Mangbaedan where
the memorial service is held.
Especially one of the biggest national holiday such
as New Year¡¯s day or harvest festival, many separated
family members visit this place.
And the Freedom bridge lies here and it was made
as a temporary wooden bridge to exchange about 13,000
Prisoners of war in 1953.
Old steam locomotive which has more than a thousand
bullet marks is exhibited beside the Freedom bridge.
This cargo train had run on Gyeongui Line which
linked Seoul to Pyongyang and Sinuiju. During the
Korean war, because of Chinese troops entry into
war on the side of the north in December 1950, South
Korean troops retreated and this locomotive was
bombed at Jangdan station when it was transporting
military supplies from North to South. After that
accident, more than 50 years of abandoned train
inside the DMZ was moved at Imjingak. It was restored
about 2 years and opened to the public again.
To celebrate of Year 2000, new Millennium,
Peace bell which was made of melted weapons used
during the Korean war was built at Imjingak.
To symbolize 21 century, this Bell weighs 21 tons
and consists of 21 stairs.
It was struck 21 times on the stroke of midnight,
January 1 of 2000.
The Gyeongui Line is one of the oldest railway lines
in Korea. When opened in 1906 it linked Seoul in
what is now South Korea to Pyongyang and Sinuiju
in what is now North Korea. At Seoul, the line connected
with Gyeongbu Line to Busan, while at Sinuiju, the
line connected with the South Manchuria Railway,
linking the Korean railway system to the rest of
Asia and Europe.
This station is a second-last station of South Korea
and opened after the reconnection of 6.8 km between
Munsan~Imjingang station on September 30, 2001.
It has trains to Seoul Station via Ilsan every hour
between 6 a.m and midnight. There are 18 stops between
There is a check-point before the unification bridge
and KSC(Korean Service Corps Battalion)-¹Ì À°±º ÇÑ±¹±Ù¹«´Ü
and MP is stationing all the time.
No one goes inside without permission except villagers
who live in the military area so South Korean MP
get on the shuttle bus to check passenger¡¯s ID.
From here, taking photo is not allowed.
South Korean men have to join the army for 24 months.
Unification bridge was opened in
1998 to prepare for exchange of supplies between
South and North Korea and visiting to North Korea
for separated families members¡¯ reunions.
HYUNDAI Corps donated lots of money to build this
bridge because of the former CEO, the late Mr. Jung
Joo-young¡¯s missing his hometown in North Korea.
He was the first person who visited to North Korea
as a civilian and 1000 cows were sent to North Korea
to cultivate in barren land.
There are 3 civilian villages named
Unification village, Daesungdong village(freedom
village) and Haemaru village.
Unification village is a largest village of the
three and it was built in 1973.
The government encouraged people to move in this
area in order to cultivate the wasteland for a farm
to produce foods and crops and the soil condition
is very ideal for producing Korean 6 year-old Ginseng,
rice and soybean.
That¡¯s why we can get best quality of farm-products
from this area and every November, Soybean Festival
is held here. A Kibbutz(a collective community in
Israel. Traditionally based on agriculture and organization
of reservist which is consisted of men from 17 to
60 year-old personnel for national defense) is model
of this village. 125 families, 466 people are living
in this village at the moment.
Dora Observatory is on the South Korean side of
the 38th parallel. Situated on top of Dorasan, the
observatory looks across the Demilitarized Zone.
It is the part of South Korea closest to the North.
Visitors can catch a rare glimpse of the reclusive
North Korean state through binoculars from the 304
square feet, 500-person capacity observatory. They
will be able to see the North Korean propaganda
village situated in the DMZ, a remnant of the old
prosperity of the North, and can see as far as the
city of Gaesung which is the 3rd largest city(population
about 310,000) in North and if the weather is clear,
bronze statue of Kim Il-sung, former leader of North
Korea, can be seen. An estimated number of his statue
in the whole country of the north is about more
than 25,000 and North Koreans pay their respects
to the statue.
The observatory is very close to the Third Tunnel
(Third North Korean Infiltration Tunnel), a massive
North Korean-dug tunnel which was planned as a pathway
for invasion to the South if war had erupted and
it had not been discovered. The Dorasan Station,
also nearby, is designed to be the station that
connects the railroads of the South and North one
day in the future.
And there is a Gaesung Industrial
Gaesung Industrial Park is being operated in the
region, as a collaborative economic development
with South Korea. It is located ten kilometers (six
miles) north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone with
direct road and rail access to South Korea and an
hour's drive from Seoul. Construction started in
June 2003, and in August 2003 North and South Korea
ratified four tax and accountancy agreements to
support investment. Pilot phase construction was
completed in June 2004, and the industrial park
opened in December 2004.
In the park¡¯s initial phase, 15
South Korean companies constructed manufacturing
facilities. Three of the companies had started operations
by March 2005.
First phase plans envisaged participation by 250
South Korean companies from 2006, employing 100,000
people by 2007. The park was expected to be complete
in 2012, covering 25 square miles (65 km2) employing
700,000 people. As of June 2010, 110 factories were
employing approximately 42,000 DPRK workers and
800 ROK staff. Companies operating or under construction
in the complex are seeking to hire an additional
26,000 North Korean workers. Construction of dormitories
and other infrastructure for the additional workers
is on hold as the Lee Myung-bak administration has
prioritized movement on North Korean nuclear issues.
Electrical power and telephone service is supplied
from South Korea; 15MW of power is being supplied
in 2005, with plans for a 100MW supply by 2007.
The Gaesung industrial park is run
by a South Korean committee that has a fifty-year
lease which began in 2004. Hyundai Asan, a division
of South Korean conglomerate Hyundai has been hired
by Pyongyang to develop the land. The firms are
taking advantage of cheap labor available in the
North to compete with China to create low-end goods
such as shoes, clothes, and watches. Workers earn
an average of $57 per month?half of Chinese labor
costs and less than 5 percent the salaries of their
South Korean counterparts.
The industrial park is seen as a
way for South Korean companies to employ cheap labor
that is educated, skilled and speaks Korean which
would make communication considerably easier. However
the zone still faces a number of obstacles. Among
the most pressing are U.S. economic sanctions against
the North, prohibiting imports of key technologies
and goods, such as computers. More than 1000 South
Korean firms are rethinking planned shifts of production
from China and Southeast Asia to Gaesung.
In May 2010, due to the ROKS Cheonan sinking incident
and South Korea's response, North Korea severed
ties with South Korea and shutdown the Consultative
Office in the zone, however existing activities
in the zone maintained production activities, and
transport and telephones to South Korea are operating
Dorasan Station is a railroad station situated on
the Gyeongui Line, which once connected North and
South Korea and has now been restored.
In 2000, former President of South Korea Kim Dae-jung
visited to North Korea to meet Kim Jung-il and they
agreed to reconnect Gyeongui Line.
The construction was finished and opened in February
George w. Bush, the U.S. President and Kim Dae-jung
,President of South Korea visited here on February
20, 2002 and made a speech for praying peaceful
reunification of Korean peninsula and signed their
name and wishes on a railroad tie.
For several years the northernmost stop on the line
was Dorasan Station, which is served by Tonggeun
On December 11, 2007, freight trains began traveling
north past Dorasan Station into North Korea, taking
materials to the Gaesung Industrial Region, and
returning with finished goods. It was scheduled
to make one 16 kilometer (10 mile) trip every weekday.
However, on December 1, 2008, the North Korean government
closed the border crossing, after accusing South
Korea of a confrontational policy. This coincided
with the South Korean legislative election, 2008,
and a change to a more conservative government.
Plans to begin regular passenger service across
the Imjin River to North Korea have yet to be finalized.
However, a tourist visit in January 2010 showed
clearly that the station was completely shut to
all train travel, and that the station was only
open for tourists.
In 2007, on the east coast of Korea,
the first train crossed the DMZ on the new Donghae
Bukbu Line. The new rail crossing was built adjacent
to the road which took South Koreans to Gumgangsan,
a region that has significant cultural importance
for all Koreans. More than one million civilian
visitors crossed the DMZ until the route was closed
following the shooting of a 53-year-old South Korean
tourist in July 2008. After a joint investigation
was rebuffed by the North, the Republic of Korean
government suspended tours to the resort. Since
then the resort and the Donghae Bukbu Line have
effectively been closed by the North.