The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of Korea: Protection, Conservation and Restoration of a Unique Ecosystem

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  1. How wildlife is thriving in the Korean peninsula's demilitarised zone
  2. Hope for Conservation and Peace in the Korean Demilitarized Zone
  3. Returning Cranes to North Korea: Eleana Kim on the Grus japonensis | Sino-NK
  4. Collectanea Botanica, Vol 37 (2018)
  5. Introduction

Within it, we highlighted the role that transboundary protection can play in biodiversity conservation and peacebuilding — specifically in achieving conservation goals across international borders while supporting sustainable development and the promotion of peace. I cited several examples, such as the Cordillera del Condor Peace Park between Ecuador and Peru, the European Green Belt creating a conservation corridor along the former Iron Curtain, and the transfrontier conservation areas that South Africa has created with all seven of its neighboring countries.

We hope that by removing the barbed wire fences and land mines, North and South Korea can harness the potential of environmental peacebuilding and use the region as a tool to build frameworks of collaboration. We also encourage the exchange of knowledge between scientists, protected area managers, civil society and other interested parties from the two Koreas and other countries in the region.

If established, the future Korean DMZ Peace and Nature Park could be at the heart of cooperative conservation efforts in northeast Asia, highlighting the important natural and cultural values and the historical importance of the area, and connecting it to biodiversity conservation in the wider region. As government ministers and conservationists from around the world gather for this once-a-decade meeting, I hope that the role protected areas can play in building peace will be highlighted, and that participants will recognize their potential as a tool for international diplomacy in the 21st century.

Reach Todd via email at todd peaceparkexpeditions. News about conservation, straight to your inbox.

How wildlife is thriving in the Korean peninsula's demilitarised zone

Sign up now. But the lack of a commitment topreserving biodiversity in favor of short-term economic development will hurtKorea's economy in the long-term by destroying its natural resources. Creating a bioreserve system in the DMZ could result in economicopportunities such as international parks for resource conservation andecotourism, like the La Amistad International Park Biosphere Reserve betweenCosta Rica and Panama, says the Penn State scientist. Working together on a joint project to create and manage a Koreanbioreserve system could gradually eliminate the distrust between the twocountries and lead to further collaboration, Dr.

Kim suggests. In late September, the preliminary round of the Korean peace talks hadbroken down. Over the past two years, Dr. Kim has been talking with groups ofgovernment officials, scientists and other agencies to promote and build supportfor the concept of the Korean Peace Bioreserves Systems not only from bothKorean governments, but also in the United States and througout the world. Materials provided by Penn State. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Science News. Story Source: Materials provided by Penn State. ScienceDaily, 13 October However, the resurrection of this line was short-lived, as it closed again in July following an incident in which a South Korean tourist was shot and killed.

Hope for Conservation and Peace in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

There are several buildings on both the north and the south side of the Military Demarcation Line MDL , and there have been some built on top of it. The JSA is the location where all negotiations since have been held, including statements of Korean solidarity, which have generally amounted to little except a slight decline of tensions. These are used for direct talks between the Korean War participants and parties to the armistice. In , North Korea enlarged Panmungak by adding a third floor. The new building incorporated the old Freedom House Pagoda within its design. Since there have been occasional confrontations and skirmishes within the JSA.

Returning Cranes to North Korea: Eleana Kim on the Grus japonensis | Sino-NK

The axe murder incident in August involved the attempted trimming of a tree which resulted in two deaths Captain Arthur Bonifas and First Lieutenant Mark Barrett. Another incident occurred on 23 November , when a Soviet tourist named Vasily Matuzok sometimes spelled Matusak , who was part of an official trip to the JSA hosted by the North , ran across the MDL shouting that he wanted to defect.

Border guards on the South Korean side returned fire, eventually surrounding the North Koreans as they pursued Matusak. One South Korean and three North Korean soldiers were killed in the action, and Matusak was not captured.

Collectanea Botanica, Vol 37 (2018)

In late , South Korean forces in conjunction with the United Nations Command began renovation of its three guard posts and two checkpoint buildings within the JSA compound. Construction was designed to enlarge and modernize the structures. Villagers are classed as Republic of Korea citizens, but are exempt from paying tax and other civic requirements such as military service. These features represented an unheard-of level of luxury for rural Koreans, North or South, in the s.

The town was oriented so that the bright blue roofs and white sides of the buildings would be the most distinguishing features when viewed from the border. However, based on scrutiny with modern telescopic lenses, it has been claimed the buildings are mere concrete shells lacking window glass or even interior rooms, [15] [16] with the building lights turned on and off at set times and the empty sidewalks swept by a skeleton crew of caretakers in an effort to preserve the illusion of activity.

In the s, the South Korean government built a Since demarcation, the DMZ has had numerous cases of incidents and incursions by both sides, although the North Korean government typically never acknowledges direct responsibility for any of these incidents there are exceptions, such as the axe incident. In , in now- declassified meeting minutes, U. The orientation of the blasting lines within each tunnel indicated they were dug by North Korea. North Korea claimed that the tunnels were for coal mining ; however, no coal was found in the tunnels, which were dug through granite.

Some of the tunnel walls were painted black to give the appearance of anthracite. The tunnels are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. They run in a north-south direction and do not have branches. Following each discovery, engineering within the tunnels has become progressively more advanced. For example, the third tunnel sloped slightly upwards as it progressed southward, to prevent water stagnation. Today, visitors from the south may visit the second, third and fourth tunnels through guided tours.

The first of the tunnels was discovered on 20 November , by a South Korean Army patrol, noticing steam rising from the ground. The initial discovery was met with automatic fire from North Korean soldiers. The tunnel, which was about 0.

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The tunnel was reinforced with concrete slabs and had electric power and lighting. There were weapon storage and sleeping areas. A narrow-gauge railway with carts had also been installed.

DMZ---Demilitarized Zone or Danger Zone / North and South Korea Border Area

Estimates based on the tunnel's size suggest it would have allowed considerable numbers of soldiers to pass through it. The second tunnel was discovered on 19 March It is of similar length to the first tunnel. The third tunnel was discovered on 17 October Unlike the previous two, the third tunnel was discovered following a tip from a North Korean defector.

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A fourth tunnel was discovered on 3 March , north of Haean town in the former Punchbowl battlefield. The method of construction is almost identical in structure to the second and the third tunnels. Various organizations, such as the North Korean tour guide company Korea Konsult, claimed a wall was dividing Korea, saying that:. In the area south of the Military Demarcation Line, which cuts across Korea at its waist, there is a concrete wall which It is set with wire entanglements and dotted with gun embrasures, look-outs and varieties of military establishments.

He said the south side of the wall is packed with soil, which permits access to the top of the wall and makes it effectively invisible from the south side.

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He also claimed that it served as a bridgehead for any northward invasion. The United States and South Korea deny the wall's existence, although they do claim there are anti-tank barriers along some sections of the DMZ. In the RT documentary 10 Days in North Korea , the crew shot footage of a wall as seen from North Korea and described it as a "5 metre high wall stretching from east to west". A Reuters report revealed that there is no coast to coast wall located across the DMZ and that the pictures of a "wall" which have been used in North Korean propaganda have merely been pictures of concrete anti-tank barriers.

It also serves a similar function as the Berlin Wall and the inner German border did against its own citizens in the former East Germany in that it stops North Korean citizens from defecting to South Korea. From the armistice until , approximately 7, South Korean soldiers and agents infiltrated North Korea to sabotage military bases and industrial areas.

North Korea has thousands of artillery pieces near the DMZ. According to a article in The Economist , North Korea could bombard Seoul with over 10, rounds every minute. From until , both sides broadcast audio propaganda across the DMZ. On 4 August , a border incident occurred where two South Korean soldiers were wounded after stepping on landmines that had allegedly been laid on the southern side of the DMZ by North Korean forces near an ROK guard post.

On 8 January , in response to North Korea's supposed successful testing of a hydrogen bomb , South Korea resumed broadcasts directed at the North. In recent years, mainly South Korean non-governmental organizations have been involved in launching balloons targeted at the DMZ and beyond. Many North Korean leaflets during the Cold War gave instructions and maps to help targeted South Korean soldiers in defecting. In addition to using balloons as a means of delivery, North Koreans have also used rockets to send leaflets to the DMZ. On 23 April , both North and South Korea officially cancelled their border propaganda broadcasts for the last time. Its purpose is to limit and control the entrance of civilians into the area in order to protect and maintain the security of military facilities and operations near the DMZ. Barbed wire fences and manned military guard posts mark the Civilian Control Line.

The Civilian Control Zone is necessary for the military to monitor civilian travel to tourist destinations close to the Southern Limit Line of the DMZ like the discovered infiltration tunnels and tourist observatories. Usually when traveling within the Civilian Control Zone, South Korean soldiers accompany tourist buses and cars as armed guards to monitor the civilians as well as to protect them from North Korean intruders. The government implemented migration measures to attract settlers into the area. As a result, in , when the area delineated by the Civilian Control Line was at its largest, a total of 39, residents in 8, households were living in the 81 villages located within the Civilian Control Zone.

The whole estuary of the Han River is deemed a "Neutral Zone" and is off-limits to all civilian vessels and is treated like the rest of the DMZ. Only military vessels are allowed within this neutral zone. The South Korean government ordered the construction of the Ara Canal to finally connect Seoul to the Yellow Sea, which was completed in Seoul was effectively landlocked from the ocean until The biggest limitation of the Ara Canal is it is too narrow to handle any vessels except small tourist boats and recreational boats, so Seoul still cannot receive large commercial ships or passenger ships in its port.

In recent years Chinese fishing vessels have taken advantage of the tense situation in the Han River Estuary Neutral Zone and illegally fished in this area due to both the North Korean and South Korean navies never patrolling this area due to the fear of naval battles breaking out.

This has led to firefights and sinkings of boats between Chinese fishermen and the South Korean Coast Guard. On January 30, North Korean and South Korean military officials signed a landmark agreement that would open the Han River Estuary to civilian vessels for the first time since the Armistice Agreement in The agreement will take effect on April 1, on a trial basis for a few vessels at first and then later will increase in stages gradually until freedom of passage will be granted to any large private ship, like a large cruise or cargo ship, who wishes to travel to Seoul as a final destination via the Han River.

Within the DMZ itself, in the town of Cheorwon , is the old capital of the kingdom of Taebong — , a regional upstart that became Goryeo , the dynasty that ruled a united Korea from to Taebong was founded by the charismatic leader Gung Ye , a brilliant if tyrannical one-eyed ex- Buddhist monk.


Rebelling against the kingdom of Silla , Korea's then ruling dynasty, he proclaimed the kingdom of Taebong —also called Later Goguryeo, in reference to the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo 37BCECE —in , with himself as king. The kingdom consisted of much of central Korea, including areas around the DMZ. He placed his capital in Cheorwon , a mountainous region that was easily defensible in the Korean War, this same region would earn the name "the Iron Triangle ". As a former Buddhist monk, Gung Ye actively promoted the religion of Buddhism and incorporated Buddhist ceremonies into the new kingdom.

Even after Gung Ye was dethroned by his own generals and replaced by Wang Geon , the man who would rule over a united Korea as the first king of Goryeo , this Buddhist influence would continue, playing a major role in shaping the culture of medieval Korea. Moreover, excavation work and research have been hampered by political realities. In the future, inter-Korean peace may allow for proper archaeological studies to be conducted on the castle site and other historical sites within and underneath the DMZ.

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