The DMZ~Viewing North Korea

My host university organized a field trip to the DMZ: The Demilitarized Zone. It is here that anyone can go to look over North Korea. Loud propaganda music can be heard playing over speakers from both sides of this barrier. South Korea blares fun K-pop while North Korea plays solemn anthems of their country 24/7. North Korea is extremely beautiful in terms of geography and landscape. In the distance, a small town can be seen. We were told this town acts as a “lure” to attract South Koreans to defect to North Korea. Or even, it provides a false representation of the country. The city is well developed and looks advanced, but in fact, it is totally empty. It is a very strange concept, but it proves how disordered the country is. On this field trip, we visited the Paju area of South Korea. This province is the closest South Korean area to North Korea in distance. We went through many military check points in this town. As part of the field trip, we were led through a tunnel that was originally built by the North Koreans as a way to attack Seoul. South Korea discovered these plans and put a stop to every tunnel being built underneath the DMZ. There are several tunnels that tourist can visit. It is a little unnerving to venture through this tunnel, knowing that North Korean military could be in the tunnel on their said of the DMZ as well. The tunnel is well secured and blocked off in the middle ground. Another option is to visit the JSA: joint security area. Here you can see North and South Korean soldiers face off, defending their side. Unfortunately, we were unable to fit this portion of the trip in. I learned so much about the devastating reality of the victimized people of North Korea. It was a very humbling experience and my heart aches for the Korean families that are torn apart by their borders.

 

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