North Korea and South Korea (Part 2)
North Korea and Hyundai investments in the country
At the end of the 1990s, the South Korean company Hyundai started making some investments in North Korea. The first step was taken in 1998, when Hyundai founder, Chung Ju Yung, crossed the North-South Korean border with a present of 1,001 cows.
Hyundai today operates a special industrial zone in Kaesong, North Korea, where North Korean factory workers assembly products for some South Korean companies.
Also, Hyundai manages a new tourist destination for South Koreans in Geumgangsan Diamond Mountains. Hyundai Asan runs tours to this North Korean destination, has built a hotel and roads and plans to make a golf course for rich South Korean tourists.
Korean Demilitarised Zone – DMZ
Between North and South Korea there is a Demilitarised zone or DMZ, a strip of land which is four km wide and 248 km long, stretching across the Korean peninsula from east to west. Nobody lives in this area; only the army can access it, as it is full of land mines, missiles, guard posts and troops. Because nobody lives there, the Korean DMZ is a great natural reserve, an uncontaminated oasis for wildlife.
The military base of Panmunjeon is the outpost where soldiers from the South face soldiers from North Korea. For a civilian it is possible to visit Panmunjeon, but only with guided tours. There, visitors can see the Joint Security Area or JSA, where the Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953. The JSA is split down the middle by the Military Demarcation Line (MDL).
On the northern side of the MDL is the Panmungak, a grey Stalinist structure. Between the two borders is the MAC building where, with a guide, you may briefly cross over into North Korean territory. Near the building there is an observation point called Checkpoint 3, from where it is possible to observe the North Korean village of Gijeong-dong, also dubbed Propaganda Village by the UN troops. The reason being that very few people, only caretakers, are believed to be living there and the lights within the buildings can be seen to light and be turned off every day all at the same time. On the southern side of the DMZ there is a small traditional Korean village, strictly controlled by the South Korean government, where very few people are allowed to live.
Starting on the 15th of November 1974, the South Korean army discovered four tunnels. Because of their characteristics, shapes and sizes they are believed to have been dug by North Koreans with the aim of invading South Korea. It is possible for tourists to enter some of the tunnels. You will be required to wear an helmet inside the tunnels, as in some points they are quite low; it is possible to walk inside the tunnels up to a certain point where a wall marks the beginning of North Korean territory.
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Korea and South Korea - Divisions, history & profile