Panmunjom, the border with mines


Nancy Pelosi will visit this enclave, located in the “demilitarized zone” separating the two Koreas and where a historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un took place in 2019.

It is ‘the most tense area in the world’. Panmunjom, which will receive a visit this Thursday from United States House of Representatives President Nancy Pelosi, is the border post separating the two Koreas. One of the most unequal and at the same time dangerous borders in the world.

In Panmunjom, about 60 kilometers north of Seoul, the armistice was signed that ended the war between South and North Korea in 1953. It is located in the so-called ‘demilitarized zone’, no man’s land, an area that four kilometers wide and 238 long and which, despite its name, is one of the most closely monitored regions in the world. It is the place in the world with the highest concentration of soldiers – South Korean, North Korean and American troops side by side -, weapons and buried mines per square meter. There are so many that it would take 300 years to remove them.

But it is precisely this very special character that makes it so attractive. Thousands of people come to the place every year. In fact, visitors coming from the south must first sign a document warning them that the visit is “entering into a hostile territory and the possibility of injury or death.”

In reality, almost nothing is left of the old village that hosted negotiations to end the civil war between the two countries seven decades ago. However, the building, built as a symbol of the armistice and later renamed the Peace Museum by North Korea, has been preserved.

One of the landmarks of the place is a small blue building. It is a conference room, where several peace talks between the two Koreas have taken place. A small room built on the dividing line between the two Koreas – the 38th parallel – so that those entering it can cross the border between the two countries as they move from one side of the room to the other.

Panmunjom attracts media attention from time to time due to its strategic location. In 2019, it hosted the meeting between then-President of the United States, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It was a historic photo. Never before has an American president set foot on North Korean soil. The meeting boosted hopes for peace, but nevertheless both leaders continued their inflamed rhetoric until the end of the Republican mandate, always with the nuclear threat in the background. Trump and Kim failed to agree on the North’s concessions and the lifting of sanctions imposed on the regime for its missile and nuclear development programs.

Source: La Verdad


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