DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)


The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) refers to a specific area that belongs to a country’s territory but the government cannot station troops and military facilities according to international laws.

The DMZ on the Korean peninsula was established when the Korean War, which took place on June 25, 1950, was suspended as a result of the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953.

In other words, the DMZ was created when the Korean War was not stopped but suspended, and North and South Korea agreed to withdraw each army by 2km to the north and south, respectively, with the MDL (Military Demarcation Line) as the center.
It is 248km long indicated by 1,292 signs from Jeongdong-ri (Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do) at the mouth of Imjingang River, to Myeongho-ri,(Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do) in the east sea.

The DMZ, one of institutions under international laws, consists of four elements: demilitarization, existence of a fixed buffer zone, separation of military power or isolated placement, and establishment of an observation agency. Ironically, the DMZ and the surrounding area on the Korean peninsula are the most heavily armed in the world with North and South Korea sharply confronting each other.



What efforts have been made to use the DMZ for peaceful purposes?


Efforts have been made in various forms to use the DMZ for peaceful purposes regardless of the times, whether it be during the Cold War or the post-Cold War era. Meaningful suggestions have been made till today.

Representative suggestions during the Cold War include the first proposal of “Use of the DMZ for Peaceful Purposes” by the Military Armistice Commissionon June 12, 1971 and “Construction of Peace City in the DMZ” by President Roh Tae-woo in 1988.

In the post-Cold War era, the suggestions started to take the forms of specific efforts and achievements as
- Signing of the first agreement between the two Korea on the use of the DMZ for peaceful purposes (Inter-Korean Basic Agreement) in 1991
- Geumgangsan Tour that started in 1998
- Connection of Gyeongui Line, Donghe Line, and roads since the inter-Korean summit talk on June 15, 2000
- The first product manufactured in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex in December, 2004.



Let’s look at the new value of the DMZ and its changed status


The DMZ boasts the natural ecological environment with no contact from human beings for more than half a century. It is a history museum that dreams of reunification of the Korean peninsula.
(The mouth of Hangang River west of the DMZ and the surrounding area have been playing a central role on the Korean peninsula for long since the era of Three Kingdoms, Unified Shilla, Goreo, and Joseon.)

The natural environment of the DMZ as well as its historical significance has become Korean people’s value that neither side could abandon or deny.

That’s why we have to turn the DMZ, in which the past and the present history and the natural environment co-exist, to a unified land in a peaceful manner.



Source: Gyeonggi-do (https://dmz.gg.go.kr/)