What is the DMZ? Map and pictures show the demilitarized zone Travis King crossed into North Korea

What is the DMZ? Map and pictures show the demilitarized zone Travis King crossed into North Korea
What is the DMZ? Map and pictures show the demilitarized zone Travis King crossed into North Korea

This week U.S. soldier Travis King crossed the Demilitarized Zone, usually known as the DMZ, which separates South Korea and North Korea. King went into North Korea “willfully and with out authorization” and is believed to be within the custody of North Korean forces. What’s the DMZ and what does it seem like?

What’s the Demilitarized Zone?

The DMZ is a 148-mile-long strip that includes territory from each North and South Korea. It’s about 35 miles from South Korea’s capital, Seoul, and runs alongside the thirty eighth parallel, the road that divides the 2 international locations, alongside which much of the Korean War occurred. 

The DMZ was created on the finish of the Korean Struggle in 1953, when an armistice was signed. Each international locations are nonetheless divided and technically at conflict, however the DMZ ensures the demarcation between them stays peaceable. It’s protected by closely armed troops on each side.

The world is a vacationer vacation spot in South Korea and is rated the tenth neatest thing to do on a go to to Seoul, according to U.S. Information and World Report. There are monuments and a lookout into North Korea, and a number of other tour firms take teams there.

American troops with the United Nations Command Safety Battalion are stationed on the Joint Safety Space, an space of the DMZ in Panmunjom, according to the U.S. navy. The unit has been standing on the website since 1952 to assist defend the armistice, which was signed there by representatives from North Korea, the USA, China and the United Nations in 1953. 

Are you able to cross the DMZ?

Normally, there isn’t a crossing the DMZ. Vacationers who go to the Joint Safety Space can place their toes on both aspect of the road separating the 2 international locations, in line with U.S. Information and World Report.

You’ll be able to journey to every nation individually, however according to a company that coordinates excursions in North Korea, you’ll be able to’t journey to North Korea by way of South Korea. Normally, individuals visiting North Korea undergo China or Russia. 

In 2019, President Donald Trump crossed the DMZ into North Korea, changing into the primary sitting U.S. president to go to the nation. It was there that he met with the nation’s chief, Kim Jong Un. “I by no means anticipated to satisfy you on this place,” Kim instructed Trump by way of an interpreter. 

Trump met with leaders in each North and South Korea to try to dealer a denuclearization deal.

Some individuals threat their lives crossing the DMZ to flee North Korea. In 2020, a complete of 229 North Koreans defected to South Korea, according to local media, citing South Korea’s Unification Ministry. Earlier this 12 months, Unification Minister Kwon Youngse said the “angle in the direction of North Korean defectors must be extra open and optimistic.” 

A resettlement program is being designed to supply extra assist to defectors from North Korea, a rustic run by a dictator and accused of human rights violations. 

In 2017, a North Korean soldier defected to South Korea by way of the Joint Safety Space. He was shot by fellow North Korean troopers and brought to a hospital in South Korea. 

That very same 12 months, an American man was detained in South Korea for allegedly attempting to cross the DMZ into North Korea. He was later deported again to the U.S. 

In 2020 South Korean media reported a former North Korean gymnast jumped over an almost 10-foot fence to flee North Korea, however in 2022 the South Korean navy mentioned that defector went back to the North.

Different individuals have crossed into North Korea, together with U.S. solider Charles Jenkins, who was serving in South Korea in 1965 when he fled to the North, in line with the Associated Press. In North Korea, he married a Japanese nurse who was kidnapped in 1978 by brokers from the nation and was later allowed to return to Japan.

Jenkins was finally allowed to go away for Japan as nicely, and when he did in 2004, he surrendered to the U.S. navy and was charged with abandoning his unit and defecting to North Korea.

Photos of the DMZ

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A map depicting the DMZ that acts as a buffer between North and South Korea.

Library of Congress


View Of The Demilitarized Zone Between North And South Koreas After American Citizen Detained In North
North Korea’s propaganda village Kaepoong is seen from the Unification Remark Platform, close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on July 19, 2023 in Paju, South Korea. 

/ Getty Pictures


View Of The Demilitarized Zone Between North And South Koreas After American Citizen Detained In North
 Vacationers look over North Korea on the Unification Remark Platform, close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on July 19, 2023 in Paju, South Korea. A U.S. soldier who had served in South Korea crossed the navy demarcation line separating the 2 Koreas into North Korea with out authorization. The person moved into the North throughout a tour on the Panmunjom Joint Safety Space within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

/ Getty Pictures


SKOREA-NKOREA-CHINA-ASEAN-SANCTIONS
In a photograph taken on August 2, 2017 South Korean troopers stand guard earlier than North Korea’s Panmon Corridor (rear C) and the navy demarcation line separating North and South Korea, at Panmunjom, within the Joint Safety Space (JSA) of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). 

Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Pictures


FILES-YEAR2019-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY-TRUMP
 On this file picture taken on June 30, 2019, US President Donald Trump steps into the northern aspect of the Navy Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, as North Korea’s chief Kim Jong Un appears on, within the Joint Safety Space (JSA) of Panmunjom within the Demilitarized zone (DMZ). 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI


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A handout picture supplied by Dong-A Ilbo of North Korean chief Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump contained in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the South and North Korea on June 30, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea. 

U.S. Private 2nd Class Travis T. King, wearing a black shirt and black cap, is seen in this picture taken during a tour of the tightly controlled Joint Security Area on the border between North Korea and South Korea, at the truce village of Panmunjom, Sou
U.S. Non-public 2nd Class Travis T. King, carrying a black shirt and black cap, is seen on this image taken throughout a tour of the tightly managed Joint Safety Space on the border between North Korea and South Korea, on the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea, July 18, 2023.

Sarah Leslie/Handout by way of Reuters


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