Subject : Korea DMZ Tour Schedule
Reporter: Lisa Kim (김경희) Date: July.11,2015
Morning tour: Lotte hotel (8:20AM) ~ Imjingak (Memorial monument, Freedom of bridge, old train, register for passing civilian control line), DMZ AERA , ID check at Unification bridge (9:20-9:40AM) ~ 3rd infiltration tunnel and exhibition hall (7 min Video, exhibition related to war) (10:00-11:00AM) ~ Dorasan Observatory (11:05-11:30) ~ Dorasan railway Station (11:30-12:00noon Departure to Seoul) ~ Amethysts Center (13:00-13:25PM Yeouido) ~ Drop off at Itaewon
Introduction : My name is Lisa, tour guide from Cosmojin tour company Have you brought your passport with you? Before arriving at Imjingak, you need to fill in your name, passport nbr and your country for administrative register to pass civilian control line, where military soldiers will check your ID at Unification bridge before going into Demilitarized zone. Could you please fill in your data on this?
Let me briefly mention about our itinerary of DMZ tour – It will take approximately 1 hour from Seoul to Imjingak unification tourist resort, which is located in north part of Seoul, Paju, Gyeonggi province. At Imjingak we will purchase the entrance tickets for DMZ tour. South Korean soldiers will check your ID at Unification bridge for passing civilian control line). - Total tour time of DMZ is approximately two and half hours with visiting 3 major areas
- Our first stop is 3rd infiltration tunnel which North Korea made and exhibition hall where you can see 7 min video and the articles related to Korean war – 1 hour.
- Next stop is Dora Observation platform – 15~20 min
- Last stop is Dora Railway station – 15~20 min
We are scheduled to return to Seoul around (2:00 PM for morning DMZ tour).
This is DMZ tour, Demilitarized zone (Buffer zone) stretching 250 km from the east coast of Korean Peninsula to the west. We have boarder line in Korean Peninsula. Current border line is MDL (military demarcation line).
Wire fences : you may be curious why there are continuous wire fences. North Korea is close from here. So we need the protection against North Korea. Some part of wire fences have electricity. Beyond this fence, this is same Han Kang river is reaching far to the north, but if you look at other side of river, you can see the north Korea. Odusan Unification Observatory, this is place at which Hangang river and Imjin river are met together. There is wire fence along the Han river to reinforce national defense against North Korean spies to infiltrate through Han river. Because North Korea is very poor country, there are less trees on the mountains because they still use wood as major resource, fuel for their cooking and eating. That is why there are less trees on the mountains.
Japanese Colonial Period & Independence and the creation of DMZ (Buffer zone) : Korean Peninsula is located in important place, the center between China and Japan. There were Japanese invasions (Imjin war) in the 16C and Japan annexed Korea for 36 years from 1910 till 1945. During the Japanese colonial period, Korea had been divided into two political ideology parties, that is, communist party and democracy party. Korea could be liberated from Japan in 1945 when the World war two was finished as result of Japan’s defeat. At that time, USA and Soviet Union was the center of power and Korea was divided into two nations, South Korea (democracy) was supported by USA and North Korea (communist) was supported by Soviet Union and 38th parallel line was marked between South Korea and North Korea. South Korea officially established The republic of Korea in August, 1948 which was supported by USA. Meantime, North Korea established the government in Sept same year which was supported by Soviet Union. So eventually, Korea was officially divided into two nations in 1948.
After that, Korean war occurred by North Korea in June 1950 and continued for 3 years until Armistice (cease-fire) agreement was signed in July, 1953 with the support of UN. Of course, major country was USA. The agreement restored the border line between two Koreas near the 38th Parallel (250 km long) and created the Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) 2 km each, total 4 km wide fortified buffer zone between the two Korean nations.
This is the history of DMZ.
Imjingak : We will almost arrive at very first place, Imjingak. We will stop by to get ticket, meantime, I will give you 20 min free time for you to look around. Once we arrive there, I would like to suggest you to check out two area, one is Freedom bridge. Because this is famous place to exchange POW between South and North Korea. Do you know what is POW ? Prisoner of War. After Korean war, 13,000 Korean soldiers crossed over through that bridge, So we call it freedom bridge. Near this bridge, there is original old train, at the same time last train which ran until last minute and was cut during Korean war. This train was used by South Korean soldiers for military supply. After visiting there, please come back to this bus.
The Unification Bridge : We are almost approaching military check point, South Korean soldiers will check your passport here. This check point is a part of famous civilian control line. Beyond check point, we call it as civilian control zone. So only South Korea has this particular area called civilian control zone in order to protect military facilities from civilians. This whole place is a part of huge military territory. At outside, you can see soldiers wearing the uniform in green camouflage color. These are all South Korea soldiers. They are serving compulsory military service for 21 months. All men in South Korea need to do military service for 21 months. Right now, we are just passing by military check point, which means we are going into military area, civilian control village. Within this area, taking photo is not allowed at certain area. I will let you know where you can take photo. The story how unification bridge was made.
Hyundai founder Mr.Jeong donated 1,001 cows to his home town, North Korea (not money). He was the first man who crossed over from South Korea to North Korea through DMZ with carrying 1001 cows in 1998. In order to cross river, he constructed this unification bridge first in 1998. At that time, CNN did live broadcasting on this. This bridge has symbolic meaning to wish the reunification of Korea.
Now we are middle of civilian control zone. If you look at right side, you can see many houses in civilian control village which is legally controlled. This village has symbolic meaning of reunification of Korea, so the name of this village is reunification village. This village has 400 people population. Most of products produced here are soy beans and ginseng
3rd Infiltration tunnel : We are approaching 3rd infiltration tunnel that there are DMZ exhibition center & theater where 8 minutes Video about DMZ and Korean war will be played. Once again this tunnel is the highlight of this morning DMZ tour. 3rd infiltration tunnel which was found in 1978. It is 400 m toward south from military demarcation line (52 Km from Seoul). The tunnel ranges each 2 m in diameter and height, 1,635m in length and 73 m below the ground. It is largest tunnel and 30,000 armed-soldiers can go through this tunnel per hour. Will exercise a lot of walking, so we call it as DMZ gymnasium. The length of this tunnel you need to walk is only 358 meters, but only problem is steep slope of tunnel. The slope of tunnel is 11 degrees. Walking down is very easy but walking back up is to make you exercise a lot. Most of time you walk through the tunnel, you need to bend down low because the ceiling is quite low. So if you have any knee, back problems, or especially claustrophobia or asthma , heart problem, you can leave outside of tunnel. There are many cabinets prepared. You can use this cabinet. You can’t take photo inside of tunnel. After having found this tunnel, our government installed the blockage like this. South Korean government made 3 blockages to prevent North Korea from using this tunnel again.
You can see one borehole here. You can also see a lot of black color things. Black color things are coal which was painted on granite stone by North Korean soldiers in order for North Korea to make fake coal mine to hide invasion purpose. There are 4 tunnels we discovered so far, in 1972, 1975, 1978, 1990. Even today we are looking for if there are additional tunnels. I will tell you how we could find this 3rd infiltration tunnel. This tunnel was discovered by South Koreans in 1978 based on a tip from North Korea defector. His name is Kim Bu Seong who was an engineer related to this tunnel in North Korea. So South Korean government placed 107 PVC cylinder pipes of 7.5cm in diameter and then were filled with waters at all pipes and installed every 2meters along the expected invasion route to the South. 3 years later in 1978. One of the cylinder pipes erupted from pipes with water shooting up into the air because of pressure from dynamite. Dynamites were major tool to dig this tunnel so dynamite pressure pushed water out of pipes. South Korean government installed additional 5 borehole pipes into the exact location and eventually found the tunnel.
Dora Observatory flat form : We are heading for Dora Observatory post (flat form). Dora Observatory: located within DMZ on the outskirt of 개성 (3rd largest city) in N.K where you will see through telescopes how North Korea looks like (some of 개성 City and 개성 industrial complex and how both Koreans separate. Gaesung city’s population is 2 mil. We can see two national flags at DMZ. South Korean flag (donated after Olympic games in 1988) was raised up as 100m high from the ground. Upon seeing higher South Korean flag than North Korean flag, North Korea was upset and elevated his flag double size up so became 160 m which has became the tallest flag in the world. Photo regulation : Photo is prohibited, but only available at yellow line inside. Dora observatory, this is best place for you to see North Korea. At Dora observatory you can see North Korea through observatory Platform since the observatory is located on top of the mountain. So if the weather is very clear, you can see North Korea much better.
Dorasan Station : There are South Korean people’s name who donated for wishing for reconnecting the railway. 13,000people donated. Government initiated to have donation from the people for reinforcement 1 billion won collected.
This (Gyeongui line) is only one railway connected with North Korea. The northernmost station in South Korea and it was for Gyung-ui line from Seoul to Sinuiju) and is waiting for reunification. Dorasan station was made in 2003 and the train (for freight) was operated once a week between South and North Korea in 2007 Dec when South Korean government showed sunshine policy toward North Korea. But, after one year after railway ran, when the relation between South and North Korea was cooled down and South Korean female tourist was shot at Guemgang Mountain, it was shut down in 2008 Dec.
Gaesung industrial complex : South Korean companies established factories in Gaesung industrial complex of North Korea due to lower labor cost (approx $120/ month, 45%). In Gaesung industrial complex, there are approx 125 companies with 50,300 workers from North Korea. 700 South Korean managers live there.
Background of the war : Korea could be liberated from Japan in August, 1945 after 36 years colonial period as the result of Japan’s defeat at World War Two in 1945. But, the Korean nation was divided with the intervention of foreign powers. At that time Soviet Union tried to occupy whole Korean Peninsula, So USA proposed the 38th parallel line as demarcation line in order to prevent the Soviet Union from occupying the whole Korean Peninsula. Eventually demarcation line had become a line between democracy and communism.
After that, the UN proposed the establishment of the Korean Government through democratic election in Jan,1948. But, Soviet Union refused the entry of the UN temporary commission to North Korea , so South Korea had its national election and established the republic of Korea in Aug 1948. North Korea established The Democratic People’s republic of Korea in Sept,1948 with the full support from the Soviet Union.
Korea was not included in the strategic Asian Defense Perimeter outlined by Secretary of State Acheson under the Truman administration. North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung prepared for war with the support of the Soviet Union and the Communist China.
The North Korean army invaded South Korea, crossed the 38th parallel border line in June 25 .1950.
North Korean troops entered into Seoul within 3 days and ROK blew up Han river bridge and retreated.
In three days of the North troops invasion, Seoul, capital city of South Korea fell to the enemy.
UN resolution called for North Korea’s withdrawal in South Korea immediately. But North Korea didn’t listen to it UN resolved to send UN forces in 6.28. USA sent US Navy and air forces in 6.28 an US Army ground forces in 6.30.
After General MacArthur’s bold amphibious landing in Incheon, South Korean and UN troops recovered the capital
City of Seoul in 9.28, after that counter attacked North Korea and occupied Pyeongyang and advanced the most northern part of North Korea.
In Oct, 1950 with human wave tactics, About 200,000 Chinese troops pushed back South Korean and UN troops out of North Korea and to the 37th parallel. In Jan.4, 1951 Chinese troops occupied Seoul. With successive counterattacks by the UN forces, ROK and UN troops advanced near 38th parellel line n May,1951.
As the battles came to a stalemate (deadlock) north of the 38th parallel, the communist forces proposed a cease fire in June.1951. Both sides conducted negotiations but battle continued for about two years until armistice agreement was finally signed on July.27,1953.
UN Support : After the war broke out in Korea on June 25, 1950, when North Korea suddenly invaded South Korea, the UN hurried to convene a meeting of the 2nd UN Security Council and decided on the 28th of June 1950 to dispatch UN troops to Korea. This remains, in the history of the UN, as the unique resolution where troops were dispatched in the name of the UN.
In all, 21 nations volunteered to assist under the UN flag to help Korea --16 nations provided combat troops, equipment and armaments, while 5 nations provided non-combat assistance by dispatching medical ships with staff and medicine.
16 Nations with Combat Aid
USA, UK, Turkey, Canada, Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia, Greece, Thailand, Ethiopia, Philippines, Belgium and Luxemburg
5 Nations with Medical Aid
Norway, Denmark, India, Italy and Sweden.