Joint Security Area between North and South Korea

Monday, 15 October 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Military Demarcation Line © Kallgan

Military Demarcation Line © Kallgan

The Joint Security Area (JSA) is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where North and South Korean forces stand face-to-face. It is often called the Truce Village of Panmunjom in the media and various military accounts. The JSA is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and, until March 1991, was also the site of military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC). The Joint Security Area is lying within the village of Panmunjom.

The original village of Panmunjom encompassed a larger area than the current inter-military complex of the JSA, and consisted mostly of farms. The JSA itself is actually about 800 meters (1/2 mile) south of where the village proper used to be, though still within the village’s old farming area. It is because of this proximity that there is often ambiguity between the terms JSA or Panmunjom. Panmunjom no longer exists as an inhabited village as it was destroyed during the war, and all that now remains on the site of the village is the building constructed for the signing of the armistice agreement, now the North Korea Peace Museum.

Residing within the North Korean half of the DMZ, the village has not been rebuilt or repopulated, but the name carries on and the name is now used to usually refer to the JSA. The village gained lasting fame as the site where the Korean Armistice Agreement was negotiated. General Nam Il of North Korea and General William Harrison, Jr. of the United Nations Command signed the armistice agreement at 10:00 am on July 27, 1953, in a hastily constructed pavilion at Panmunjom.

House of Peace © Filzstift/cc-by-sa-3.0 Seen from South Korea © AndrewvdBK/cc-by-3.0 Looking from South Korea to North Korea © Henrik Ishihara/cc-by-sa-3.0 Military Demarcation Line © Kallgan Freedom House, seen from North Korea © Kallgan Hall of Unification © Kallgan
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Looking from South Korea to North Korea © Henrik Ishihara/cc-by-sa-3.0
General Mark W. Clark, Commander-in-Chief, UNC, later countersigned the document in a separate ceremony at Munsan, approximately 18 kilometers (11 mi) south of the DMZ; and Marshal Kim Il Sung, Korean People’s Army (KPA) Supreme Commander, along with Peng Dehuai, Commander, Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (CPV), countersigned it at Kaesong, approximately 10 kilometers (6 mi) to the north in another separate ceremony.

The JSA has been the site of numerous major events since its establishment in 1953, the first of which was the repatriation of prisoners of war (POWs) after the cessation of hostilities, across the Bridge of No Return.

The Joint Security Area currently has around 100,000 tourists visit each year through several tourism companies and the USO (through the various U.S. military commands in Korea). Before being allowed to enter the DMZ, if visiting from the South, tourists are given a briefing during which they must sign a document which states, in part, “The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action.”

Read more on Joint Security Area and Wikipedia Joint Security Area (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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