Sunday, May 14, 2017

Saturday, April 29 -visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

We got up early and walked to the Suwon AB gate and got my DL back (at 6:05 a.m.), and caught the train to Osan AB.  We got a cab to the Doolittle Gate to wait for the DMZ tour bus.  We watched a documentary, on the bus, while enroute.  It was about how the whole situation came about, the cease fire, the DMZ, and how it has evolved into what it is today. We visited the location where tunnels were discovered after a defector notified SK about the tunnels under the DMZ (1974).  We actually went, on a military bus, into the DMZ passed the farming village known as Peace Village, and to the border, where the talks took place. We were encouraged to take cameras and recorders. We were briefed to make no gestures and to stay where we are told.  We proceeded through the Peace House onto a paved area (in two lines), the stood in single file facing the North Korean border, which was about 50 feet away.  The US Army soldier, who was assigned to us, told us about the buildings there and about the ROK soldiers on this side of the border facing the NK border, and about the one soldier on the NK side who was looking in our direction. They call him Bob.  Then he told us we could take photos.  
The building on the left is P2. The three soldiers near
these buildings are ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers (S Korea)
In the foreground is our US Army soldier in charge of us.

Mary took a photo of me in front of the border. Then we got back into two lines and were taken across the road into the blue building , known as P2, where the talks were held.  This building IS ON THE BORDER. The north half is in North Korea, and the south half is in South Korea. He said that when they bring tours to this building, the lock the door on the NK side, and when we all leave the building they unlock the door on the NK side and lock the SK door. The flags of the countries representing the united nations, are in a picture frame on the wall, because when they were on the table, the North Korean soldiers would come in and blow their noses on the flags and wipe the boots with them. The border goes right down the middle of the conference table, where NK sit on their side and SK and United Nations sit on the south side.  It was a tense thing being there.  I never thought I would ever actually be inside the DMZ.
    We also visited a site just south o the DMZ where S Koreans come to pray for reunification, where they have tied ribbons to the razor wire fences with prayers about reunification.  We also visited a site where you could see over into North Korea.  The US Army soldier who was in charge of us, told us to never go into the woods that run along the south side of the DMZ, due to there are still two million unexploded land mines in those woods. 
Prayer ribbons
After we left our Army soldier behind, we were taken to the Dorasan Train Station to see the hopes and dreams of the South Koreans.  This train station is new and beautiful, but hardly anybody uses it.  It is for the day that reunification occurs, they want the north to come down and they want to be able to go north and visit their relatives there, thus a big train station ready to move all these people.

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