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North Korea: North Panmunjom

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North Panmunjom | North Korea | Asia

[Visited: Kuly 2000]

For days now, the guides have been talking about the South Koreans. Sometimes as their brother folk who have been robbed by the imperialist Americans. Sometimes as their enemies, allies of the hostile world. Finally, we get to visit the border post. After driving for hours on a nearly completely deserted highway from Pyongyang, we end up in Kaesong where we stay overnight. The next morning, without much ado, we continue to the border. We get one last briefing with a model of the area (again, unfriendly words about "the other side" are used). From here, we enter the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

Picture of North Panmunjom (North Korea): Panmunjom Border Post with border guards

We then proceed to the hall where the armistice was signed. The South Koreans refused to sign, because they did not agree. Technically, the two countries are still at war. Here again, there are rooms with exhibits about the infamous Americans and their "puppet allies" who imposed themselves on the defenceless North Koreans. A short drive from here, and we arrive at the real border. But before we reach that, we stop at a gigantic white stone with a Korean inscription. We are told that the base is 9,4 metres, and the top 7,7. Obviously, this is a symbolic link to the day that the sculpted words were written. The author ... who else than the Great Leader? One day before dying, he left this message for his people: Korea should be reunited. It seems in contradiction with his efforts to be independent and selfsufficient.

Picture of North Panmunjom (North Korea): Kim Il Sung memorial at Panmunjom dated one day before his death

Then we continue to the United Nations-blue buildings which are built exactly on the across the borderline. Before we can enter, the North Korean guides take position, and the South Koreans have to stay behind their line. Inside, a table. One side of it is North Korean, the other South Korean. Crossing this border is impossible - for fun you can walk around the table. The absurdity of the situation becomes clear. Probably the most vivid reminder of a Cold War...

Picture of North Panmunjom (North Korea): Panmunjom Border
Picture of North Panmunjom (North Korea): The border runs right through these three blue buildings
Picture of North Panmunjom (North Korea): North Korean flag on negotiation table inside the border post at Panmunjom

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