Posted by: rbbadger | April 6, 2009


Here’s a shot of Panmungak (판문각), a building on the Northern side of the border.  You can see a North Korean soldier watching us here.


The grey metal building is owned by North Korea and is sort of a place for their soldiers to relax.  The South Koreans like to call it the “Monkey House”, as the North Korean soldiers will sometimes try and make faces and distract the South Korean soldiers while relaxing.  The blue metal buildings are owned by the United Nations and it is in them that the meetings between North and South take place.


The South Korean soldiers maintain the tough stance that you see here.  They are immobile and stand for hours in what must be a very uncomfortable position.  Now to take a peek inside the buildings.  At the end of the room on the North Korean side, you can see a South Korean soldier maintaining the tough, immobile stance that they maintain.  People were taking pictures of themselves with the soldiers and they never moved.  They stand like statues.


This desk is situated right on the border.  Where the microphones are situated is exactly where the boundaries fall.  You are permitted to go the North Korean side and back again.  You just can’t go outside of the door on the North Korean side.


On the Southern side, we see images of the flags of the countries which came to South Korea’s aid during the war.  There were originally flags in the building, but given the North Korean habit of using them to clean their shoes with, the South resorted to this.


Here’s a shot of the border itself looking outside the building.  The raised cement portion is the exact border.


South Korea has built some impressive buildings on its side of the DMZ.  One of these, Freedom House, was donated by Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung in the hopes that it might be used for family reunions.  This never happened, sadly, because the North is extremely opposed to any of its citizens setting foot on southern territory.


As I mentioned before, there is a South Korean village within the boundaries of the DMZ proper.  The South Korean government erected a massive 100 metre flagpole, so of course North Korea had to build something larger.  And so, we can see the massive 160 metre flagpole near the North Korean village.  Sometimes, you can see North Koreans working in the surrounding fields.  But nobody lives in the North Korean village in the DMZ.  All the buildings were just erected for show.



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