South Korea reopened the Joint Security Area (JSA) of the truce village of Panmunjom to the public on Wednesday (May 1), a year after a historic summit was held there between the two Korean leaders, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un.
The JSA, in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, has long been a popular tourist site, with its bright blue buildings and soldiers from both sides standing face to face, but tours have been suspended since October due to security issues, according to Seoul's Defence Ministry.
Dozens of visitors armed with cameras and smartphones were seen gathered on both sides of Panmunjon on Wednesday. On April 27 last year, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met there, shook hands and stepped over the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) into both territories.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Sean Marrow of the United Nations Command Security Battalion, the guards there no longer carry weapons, and the area has been cleared of mines.
The DMZ tourism plan was part of a military pact, sealed during a September summit in Pyongyang, which called for a set of tension-defusing measures. Both Koreas implemented some steps last year, halting major military drills, setting a no-fly zone around the border and removing landmines and guard posts in DMZ, including the mountaintop watchtower above the "peace trail." (Reuters)
|North Korean soldiers look at the South side, seen during a press tour at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Joint Press Corps|
|South Korean visitors take their souvenir photos at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Joint Press Corps|