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Rebuilding Peace: A Tour to the DMZ

12 Jun, 2019 KDIS News Center 834

Telling the history of Korea is not complete without mention of the devastating war which plagued the Korean peninsula in the 1950s. Six decades after the war, the two countries are still working on peace and harmonious coexistence. The KDI School as part of its efforts to give students a practical feel of the culture and history of the Korean people occasionally organizes field trips to various historical sites.

On Friday, June 7, 2019, a group of students, both Korean and International, embarked on a study trip to the Demilitarized Zone, popularly known as the DMZ, an area established to serve as a buffer zone between South Korea and North Korea under the Korean Armistice agreement.

The first site the students visited was Imjingak Park, which was originally built for the people, especially North Korean refugees, who could not go back to their homes after fleeing from the war. This park has various facilities such as the North Korean hall where North Korean lifestyle is exhibited. From the rooftop of Imjingak, students were able to see the Freedom Bridge (a path which connects both countries), and the Imjin River. Other things seen at the Imjingak Park include the Mangbaedan Alter (a place for mourning those who perished during the war) and an old steam locomotive which used to run between both countries before the war.

The team also went to the Nuri Peace Park, a vast green field which was created to symbolize peace and reunification. This park is filled with artistic artifacts which tell a story of the consequences of war and the need for reunification. This park occasionally hosts various peace-themed performances and exhibitions.

The next destination was the Third Tunnel, also known as the Tunnel of Aggression, a previously hidden tunnel which was apparently created by the North Korean forces for a surprise attack on the south. The 1.95 meters high 2.1 meters wide and 1,635 meters long tunnel which penetrates 435 south of the demarcation line was discovered in October 1978. At the end of this tunnel is the truce village known as Panmunjeom. According to the tour guide, this tunnel could accommodate about 30,000 light weapon-wielding soldiers per hour.

They further went to the Dora Observatory, where they were able to have detailed views of North Korea through the binoculars provided at the site. From the observatory, the students could also see the Gaesong Industrial Complex and the Songhaksan Mountain.

Finally, the team toured the Dorasan Station, a train station which was restored after the Inter-Korea Peace Summit in the year 2000 as part of efforts to reconnect the Gyeongui Line which connects both nations.