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Panmunjom, North Korea – How issues have (and have not) modified through the years

 Earlier than & After:

Panmunjom, North Korea

Earlier than & After is a Koryo Excursions weblog collection wanting again by means of our huge archive of pictures taken on the 1000’s of excursions to North Korea we’ve operated since 1993.

Observing adjustments in North Korea (and the shortage of them in some circumstances) through the years in varied areas and over varied time scales.


Some of the well-known locations in the entire DPRK and a website visited by nearly each customer to the nation.

Panmunjom is the ‘Truce Village’ that sits on the DMZ, the road that separates North Korea from South Korea, and has executed because the signing of the Korean Battle Armistice on July twenty seventh, 1953.

It is a date marked as ‘Victory Day’ since then in North Korea.

Visiting Panmunjom in North Korea

A 3-hour drive from Pyongyang brings guests to the North to this extremely militarised (regardless of its title, the DMZ means ’Demilitarized Zone’) space the place every group is accompanied by Korean Folks’s Military officers as you enter the 4km-wide DMZ.

First a memento store and lecture on how this website turned how it’s (heavy on the political and historic line adopted within the DPRK after all), after which a drive to the Armistice Negotiation Corridor and the Armistice Signing Corridor.

Each of that are on the northern aspect of the road.

Lastly, guests get as near South Korea as they’ll – with a go to to the collection of huts that straddle the precise Central Navy Demarcation Line.

It is a raised concrete step which runs by means of Panmunjom and is the de facto border between the 2 states.

How has this website modified through the years? See under for some examples!

1.    The JSA (Joint Safety Space) 

That is the tempo with the huts that sit throughout the ‘border’, the blue ones administered by the UN (or as they are saying in North Korea, ‘the US’), and the silver ones being DPRK-run.

Guests can often entry the central blue hut the place unusually in the event you enter from the south you’ll be able to’t sit down or contact the furnishings, whereas in the event you go in from the north you’ll be able to. Simply one in all many uncanny experiences on this singular location.

Panmunjom 1995

Panmunjom 2016

Right here we will see how the pavilion behind the row of huts on the South Korean aspect has modified, with a big looming constructing (clumsily and unsubtly named ‘Freedom Home’) inbuilt 1998. This constructing featured in international information in April 2018 when Kim Jong Un crossed the DMZ and met with South Korean President Moon Jae In right here, and once more in June 2019 when it was the location of the weird Donald Trump/Kim Jong Un/Moon Jae In summit which featured Trump stepping over the concrete step on the urging of Kim. Unbelievable scenes for certain.

2.    Navy Guides

Each tour group, whether or not made up of 1 particular person or a bigger group, is accompanied right here by a KPA navy officer and a few troopers (to your safety after all!).

These officers may be robust, but in addition have a superb sense of humour. Principally although they gives you the DPRK model of occasions that led to this tragic division, in addition to some statements in regards to the inevitability of unification coming sooner or later.

Guests often discover them greater than keen to reply questions, pose for pictures, and so forth.

Their uniforms haven’t modified in a very long time although though the common KPA troopers’ outfits have been up to date and modernised in 2016, the primary information officers put on the basic inexperienced military uniforms. That is a method each retro and timeless directly!

Panmunjom Officers 

3.    Armistice Negotiation Corridor

Earlier than one will get to the entrance line itself it is a cease made to listen to all about how the years of negotiations dragged on right here because the warfare raged up and down the peninsular, inflicting dying and destruction past measure.

Lastly, an settlement was hammered out and papers signed by representatives of the DPRK and the UN (Common Nam Il for the Koreans, and Common William Henry Harrison on behalf of the UN – with the nationwide leaders signing their very own copies in a while).

This ended the preventing a part of the battle and was presupposed to be a short lived answer reasonably than a everlasting state of affairs. A long time later issues are unchanged at this level and the division of Korea seems to be much less and fewer short-term, deeply tragically for all these affected immediately by this merciless division.

Armistice 1953

Armistice 2014

Greater than 60 years later vacationers stand in entrance of the unique tables and chairs the place the signing ceremony happened.

The DPRK model is that the UN (sorry, ‘the US’) has requested a tent be erected for this ceremony in order that no everlasting mark can be left to indicate their disgrace at bowing down in entrance of the may of the Korean Folks’s Military (we paraphrase right here, anybody who has been there’ll recognise the sort of rhetoric although) so the KPA rapidly erected this constructing in just some days and it stands nonetheless as a monument to the signing of this historic doc.



We hope you might have loved this take a look at how issues have modified (and never) through the years at Panmunjom.

Look out for extra entries in our Earlier than & After collection of pictures from North Korea!



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