Thursday, November 6, 2008


Today, Alex, a friend from SF, and I took a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2 kilometer-wide zone that runs east-west across the Korean peninsula separating North from South. Technically, it's not an actual border because the two Koreas never signed a peace treaty officially marking the end of the Korean War and creating two separate countries.

The tour included a stop at the Third Infiltration Tunnel, a mile-long tunnel that extends southward from North Korea under the DMZ into South Korea. It is assumed that this tunnel, along with three others that have been found (there are probably more), was built to facilitate a North Korean sneak attack.

But the highlight of the tour was the visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA). In this area, there are a series of blue buildings which have hosted face-to-face meetings between delegates from North and South Korea. During this part of the tour, we were allowed to enter North Korean territory under US and Republic of Korea (ROK) Army escort.

Before Alex and I went on the tour, we stopped by the War Memorial of Korea near Camp Kim. This was one of the statues outside the museum.

The main building

This is NOT the Third Infiltration Tunnel (we're not allowed to take pictures inside it). Rather, this is the tunnel that leads to the Third Infiltration Tunnel.

We were briefed at Camp Bonifas on the history and status of the JSA by the US Army serving on behalf of the United Nations Command.

Inside one of the blue buildings. On the left of the table is South Korea. On the right is North Korea.

In North Korea. Do I look a little nervous?

Looking at a faux North Korean city (like a Hollywood set)

War is hell


kimmer said...

have you ever seen the korean movie JSA?

Alice in Wonderland said...

A people divided, so sad. But what's with the high-water flood pants the soldiers sport? Now that's a crime against humanity.

Anonymous said...

War is hell...

There were some wars worth fighting for though...

Seoul-searching said...

Kwang, I've never watched JSA. I think I can count on one hand the number of Korean films I've watched in my life, and one of them was on the flight here. I'm embarrassed to say not even Old Boy. Was JSA worth watching?

Alice, don't dis. They're just prepared for monsoon season. =)

Moon, there are wars worth fighting, but even in wars where the "good guys win", there's the inescapable and incalculable collateral damage of broken bodies, broken families, broken lives.