[Eye Plus] Path to reunification of two Koreas

By Ock Hyun-ju

Published : Jun 8, 2018 - 17:53
Updated : Jun 8, 2018 - 18:01

As North Korea and the US are soon to sit down for talks that could shape the fate of the Korean Peninsula, there is one place bustling with tourists trying to get a glimpse into the stark reality of the unfinished war: Imjingak.
 


Imjingak, located only 7 kilometers from the Military Demarcation Line and on the banks of the Imjin River in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, is one of the closest South Korean spots the public can get to North Korea. 


Built in 1972 with the hope for the reunification of the two Koreas, tourists can look toward North Korea across the river from the observatory atop the three-storied Imjingak. Outside Imjingak, a rusty locomotive, several monuments, tanks and warcraft used during the war are on display. 


Ribbons mostly bearing messages of hope for the end of the Korean War, which ended in an armistice, and the reunification of the Koreas are tied to the barbed wire fence.


Amid the rapprochement following a third inter-Korean summit on April 27, the number of visitors to security-related tourist sites in the border city of Paju increased sharply to around 1,500-3,000 per day, up 30 percent from the same period the previous year, according to the Paju municipal government.

Yet a signpost reading “a gateway to reunification,” heavily armed military guard posts and barbed wire fence along the Imjin River, flowing from the North to the South across the Demilitarized Zone, are a reminder of the unfinished war.

Photographed by Park Hyun-koo
Written by Ock Hyun-ju

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation