Culture Magazine

The Most Heavily Armed Border in the World

By Teymarie @teymarie

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

Upon the creation of  North and South Korea in 1948, the 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 currently at war today. Something the world is constantly reminded of every time the North threatens to attack or nuclear bomb the South, which is quite often.

Despite this, the DMZ is a world famous tourist spot, attracting tens of thousands of people each year.

The following pictures are vehicles and planes that were actually used during combat in the Korean War.  Some were donated from the U.S. to fight the North, others were built by Korea.

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ImjinGak is a South Korean town located only 7 km (4 miles) from the DMZ line.  This is where 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 also find the last remains of the Gyeongui Train, destroyed during the Korean conflict, and the northern most point of the Gyeongui Line, Dorasan Station, which ran back and forth between the two countries carrying materials and good until 2008 he North Korean government closed the border crossing.

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Also at ImjinGak is the Peace Bell, built in 2000 for wishing a peace and unification between two Koreas.

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Like any area around the DMZ, this town is highly fortified with tall barb-wired fences, a strong military presence and even thousands of land mines still buried underground.

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

Those who walk the streets and don’t identify themselves are shot on sight. An average of about two North Korean refugees who manage to sneak across the border are found in the town each year.

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There are many organizations within South Korea and around the world who hope the two countries can one day unify again, 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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