About DMZ

The Military Demarcation Line is surrounded by the Demilitarized Zone under the provisions of the Armistice (cease-fire) Agreement signed on July, 1953. The Military Demarcation Line runs155miles and separates the South and the North. Southern and Northern boundaries of the DMZ are located 2km apart from the MDL. The Demilitarized Zone, which consists of the area between Southern and Northern boundaries of the DMZ, was established to serve as a buffer zone to prevent any means of provocative action and collision between the South and the North. The civilian off-limit line was set up near the southern boundary of DMZ creating the civilian off-limit area, and its exact location varies from 5 to 20km away from Southern boundary of the DMZ. Because of its low population density and restrained development, the civilian off-limit area was able to maintain excellent level of natural environment.

● Third Tunnel

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.

● Dora Observatory

Situated in Paju (Gyeonggi-do) and at the northernmost point of the Military Demarcation Line of the Western Front, the Dora Observatory replaced the previous Songaksan Observation Post which was closed. From the observatory, visitors can overlook North Korea and its various locations including Gaeseong, Songaksan, Kim Il-Sung Statue, and Cooperation Farm (Geumamgol). The observatory offers 500 seats, VIP rooms, and abundant parking space. It was first opened to the public in January 1987.

Near the observatory is the Third Underground Tunnel built by North Korea and founded in 1978. It stretches over 1.6km with 2m in height and width, capable of mobilizing 30,000 troops in one hour. In front of the tunnel are a variety of attractions such as the DMZ Media Hall (offering the history of the divided country and flourishing ecosystem in the Demilitarized Zone), DMZ Exhibition Hall (displaying relics and documents related to the Demilitarized Zone), sculptures, and souvenir shops. Visitors can see the inside the tunnel by either walking or riding the monorail.

Because this area restricts civilian access, visitors must participate in the DMZ Peace & Security Tourist Program (implemented by Paju) to visit the observatory. Conducted by a shuttle bus, either from Imjingak Resort or Dorasan Station, it goes through the Dora Observatory, 3rd Underground Tunnel, Dorasan Station, and Unification Village. Visitors must carry passports, which are examined at the checkpoint just beyond Unification Bridge.

● Dorasan Station

Dorasan Station is the northernmost station of the South Korea which is 700m distant from the southern boundary line of DMZ, the civil control zone. Since US president Bush visited Dorasan Station on February 20, 2002, it has come into spotlight internationally.

imjingak Station was opened in October 2001, and then Dorasan Station, the unfinished station of the north-south Korean reconciliation was opened on February 12, 2002 (the lunar New Year's Day) through the special Mangbae train operation in 52 years after the railroad service was stopped. The milestones of Dorasan Station (205km to Pyeongyang, 56km to Seoul) imply the reality of the division between two Koreans and a future hope and expectation.

Because Dorasan Station is the northernmost station of the South Korea in the southern boundary line, Dorasan Station will play the role of customs and entry for Chinese and Russian people and goods as well as the North Koreans if Gyeongui Line Railroad connection is completed and the traffic is possible between two Koreans. Also, Dorasan Station contains the historical meaning as a symbolic place of the division between two Koreans and a gateway of the south-north exchange.

About JSA

Panmumjeom lies 50Km north of Seoul Along the Tongilro. It is the place where the Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. Presently, Panmunjeom is the Location where South and North dialogues take place. Visitors can feel the tragedy of the divided land and the unhealed scar of internecine war. As of today, Panmunjom refers to the Joint Security Area (JSA), a 400m x 800m rectangular area, set up on the Military Demarcation Line within the UNCMAC compound and reserved for talks between the United Nations Command (UNC) and its Communist counterarts (North Korea and China).

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