How to Not Get Shot at the Korean Demilitarised Zone
The form cleared our tour company of any responsibility should we be blown up, shot, or kidnapped during our visit to the Korean demilitarised zone (DMZ), the 160-mile no man’s land at the border of South and North Korea.
I had been in South Korea for a week, and day-to-day there was little sign that technically it remained at war with its reclusive, petulant sibling. The Korean War ended in July 1953 after three years of conflict that saw predominantly US-led South Korean forces battle a North Korean army backed by the Soviet Union and China. They fought to a stalemate, and drew a largely arbitrary border between the Koreas at the 38th parallel. Today, only a fragile armistice prevents open conflict.
While a lasting partnership with the USA saw South Korea enjoy massive economic prosperity, North Korea’s hermetic approach means it is now seen by many as a farcical meme, the pantomime villain of the world stage.