“The scariest place on Earth”: The North Korean DMZ.


The DMZ. Former president Bill Clinton had named it the “scariest place on Earth.” It is the most heavily militarized border in the world, with over a million soldiers ready to go to war at a moment’s notice if either side dared to cross the 38th parallel.

While you’ll probably see many of your friends’ photos from the South Korean side of the DMZ (South Korea is about as easy to get in for Americans as it is to check into London), the opposite isn’t as true. If only a few hundred foreign tourists are allowed to see Arirang each year, even fewer get the “privilege” of visiting the De-Militarized Zone.

But to get there, you’ll have to stop by eeriely deserted Kaesong, which is about the closest to civilization you can get from the North Korean side of the DMZ. Kaesong, where you’re living literally at the doorstep of war.


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About a few km drive south of Kaesong (about a 20min driver), you’ll reach the edges of Panmunjom, which is an abandoned village located in the DMZ. Soldiers will stop your vehicle and force you to get out.


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The actual de-militarized zone: farmland where a few villagers actually have rights to live on.


They’ll take you inside a gift shop, which happens to double as a tourist briefing room. There the North Koreans give their own account of how the DMZ came to be. We got assigned to a unsmiling DPRK army officer, who spoke on behalf of the military in expressing his desire for reunification. However, he would blame “foreign powers” (namely the United States) for causing the schism between the two regions.


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The Korean pennisula.

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Map of the Joint Security Area


Then you line up in rows of 2 and begin your walk into No Man’s Land.


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At the edge of the joint security area

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Walking through no-man’s land.


They’ll take you inside two buildings: the first was the meeting place between the United Nations and North Korea where our officer would describe how “angry” the Americans were when they agreed to the terms of the “armistice of surrender” to the North Koreans. The second is where the actual signing ceremony took place; where (again, according to the North Koreans) the Americans were so “shamed” that they brought a United Nations flag instead of an American flag and left it there in haste after signing.


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Where the armistice of the Korean War was signed.


Then we were marched once again, this time to the actual Joint Security Area of the DMZ.


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The South Koreans

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The North Koreans

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Changing of the guards


Then something sketchy occurred; with not even 10 minutes at the JSA, our North Korean tour group quickly rushed us to the exit saying that “the Americans locked the doors to the building on the other side. You must leave.” This cut part of our tour short and we wondered what kind of B.S. was causing the North Koreans to be so uppity about our being there. We then saw some of our North Korean guides giggling as this was happening. We still don’t know what was going on.

So I ran in and did what I had to do.


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The North Korea side of the DMZ just got served.

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The South Koreans observe my dancing from the other side of the DMZ.

- At time of posting in NYC, it was 71.6 °F -

Humidity: 85% | Wind Speed: 21km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy

The North Korean people
RAILAY

7 Comments

  1. Could the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea coexist as a federation? Then they could turn the DMZ into a nature reserve and they could live without the constant threat of war. The only reason Kim Jong un has Russian nuclear weapons is that the Republic of Korea is allied with the United States of America who have used nuclear weapons within the same geographic region.

  2. @joseph lee

    The United States is going to collapse? Do you know how often people keep saying that shit? Can you give me an exact date instead of just guessing?

  3. From Paulsboro,NJ 08066

    (continued)

    History will always repeat itself. North & South Korea WILL ultimately be reunited in due time,with NO thanks to the US (the Collapsing States of America).

    The US will learn a very painful lesson when this happens, due to its past mistakes, ie; Korean War, Vietnam War, Afghanistan (the Graveyard of Empires) & Iraq (a sacred land of God) where human civilization began, since the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers was where the former Garden of Eden was located, and is considered sacred by GOD.

    When you (the US) invade sacred lands, you will ultimately be DEFEATED !!!

    Please STUDY YOUR HISTORY and learn from your mistakes.

    Regards.

  4. From Paulsboro, NJ 08066

    This is what happens when the US (the Collapsing States of America) made its biggest mistake in dividing countries like Austria (East & West) which ended in 1954, Germany (East & West) which ended during 1989/90, Korea (North & South) still ongoing, and Vietnam (North & South) which ended in 1976.

    This was done to placate our (the US’s) only ally (Josef Stalin and the USSR) during WW2 which ended in 1945.

    Before the end of WW2, the US needed the USSR and Stalin (our only WW2 ally), and needed his help in defeating the Germans and the Japanese, therefore during the conferences held at Potsdam, Yalta & Cairo, to make a deal about the former countries that were held by Germany (all of Europe) and Japan (much of Asia) was to be devied up by the two (2) WW2 allies.

    Now since the Cold War ended in 1991, the US (Collapsing States of America) needed a divided Korea, so they can have an enemy in the Northern Far East.

    Interestingly, since the North Koreans have nuclear weapons, the US would NOT dare to start up with them.

    Remember (the US), you reap what you sow by dividing up a country that was not the aggressor during WW2. It was Japan that was the aggressor during this period.

  5. by the way..I was only explaing the SK side..NK soldier who is 6ft tall…it would be a miracle if there is one lol..

  6. Ai-Lin// nope..not true at all..SK soldiers who are assigned there or anywhere else is all randomized..certain physical requirements are only for the marines and the special forces in each of the three SK military forces(Land, Air, Sea). But it is pretty obvious that division of personal affairs would choose someone big rather than small eih? lol

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. South Koreans observing you dancing. Is it true that the guards on both sides of the DMZ had to meet certain physical attributes before being able to stand guard? I’ve heard that they had to be at least 6 feet tall.

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