Dining in the DMZ

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Typically when I travel I am very conscious of exactly where I am. This, of course, is related to the fact that I have to work out how to get to where I am and how to get away.

I generally don’t go on tours but in North Korea there is no option. Here one has no say where one is brought, what one sees and where one eats so one tends to switch off and go with the flow. It a sorta “Beam me up Scotty” to the next sight I must see. Continue reading “Dining in the DMZ”

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Little flags and naughty soldiers?

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On your visit to the DMZ from either side of the border you cannot fail to notice two massive flagpoles and flags, one North Korean and the other South Korean. I have written a separate review on these flags –Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War . In that review I also mentioned how the Korean War, with the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953, in the main, converted from one of direct military combat to one of propaganda. In addition to direct propaganda, one-upmanship and brinkmanship have long (since 1953) been key components in gaining the upper hand and the minds of people on the Korean Peninsula and in the wider world. Every opportunity to provoke and antagonise the enemy is grabbed by both sides. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Continue reading “Little flags and naughty soldiers?”

Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War!

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North Korea’s – Bigger than South Korea’s

The Korean War is now (in 2017) in its 64th year with no end in sight. Physical hostilities with a few very notable exceptions ceased on 28 July 1953, the day after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in the Peace Museum (see my separate review) here in what is now commonly referred to as Panmunjom. Continue reading “Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War!”

Watching me, watching you. Panmungak/Freedom House

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Panmungak

These are the two largest buildings within the Joint Security Area (JSA) of the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). The buildings, one in North Korea and the other in South Korea are directly opposite each other and about 80 metres apart, separated by the UN Conference Row which straddles the border itself. Continue reading “Watching me, watching you. Panmungak/Freedom House”

The Joint Security Area & Meeting Rooms

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When most people think of the Korean Demilitarised Zone the image that most often comes to mind is one of Joint Security Area (JSA), and in particular the three blue and two white buildings therein which straddle the border between North and South Korea (pictured above). The JSA is the only place where visitors from both North and South Korea visit – albeit (with one exception – see below) their respective part of the JSA. Continue reading “The Joint Security Area & Meeting Rooms”

The Axe Murder Incident

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The Axe

With the signing of an Armistice Agreement in 1953 Korean War hostilities came to an end and former combatants commenced negotiations to bring about a peace agreement to formally end the Korean War, a war which gained practically nothing for either side but cost the lives of almost 3 million people.

At the time of my visit in April 2014 these peace negotiations were in their 61st year and peace between the two belligerents seemed no closer than it did when the military truce was called in 1953.
Continue reading “The Axe Murder Incident”

Armistice Agreement Signing Hall – Peace Museum

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After over 2 years of negotiations in the Armistice Talks Hall (see my separate review) and the death of nearly 3 million people the two combatants in the Korean War, North Korea/China and the United Nations Command or UNC (South Korea, the USA and about 10 other “minor” participants –importantly, under command of the US and not the UN) agreed on the terms of an armistice. In simple terms, the agreement to be signed would provide for an end to hostilities (a cease-fire), the creation of a demilitarised zone, the repatriation of prisoners and an agreement to continue peace negotiations. Continue reading “Armistice Agreement Signing Hall – Peace Museum”