Where South Korea meets the North

“Not the last station from the South, but the first station towards the North”, reads a signboard at the Unification Platform of Dorasan station, hardly 650 metres from the southern border of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Dorasan is on the Gyeongui Line that connects North Korea with the South. At the bottom of the board, arrows indicate directions to both Seoul (56 km) and Pyongyang (205 km). There’s no rail connectivity between the South and the North. There are daily return trains to Dorasan from Seoul, mainly for tourists visiting the DMZ. “Once the unification of Koreas happens, if it happens at all, this rain line will be the major link between the North and South,” said the tour guide accompanying a group of visiting Indian journalists. The DMZ is a strip of land that divides the North and South. It was established in 1953, as a buffer between the two countries, after the fighting ended in an armistice. Parts of the southern side of the DMZ are now open for tourists. Visitors can either take a train from Seoul to Dorasan or drive up to Imjingak, the last village on the southern side before the DMZ. South Korea has turned the village into a tourist spot with restaurants and small shops selling anything from Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish, to miniaturised war monuments. The Bridge of Freedom in Imjingak is a chilling reminder of the war. It was through this bridge that thousands of prisoners crossed the Imjin river to the southern side after the war was over. Close to the bridge, an old train bogie, which was fired at and bombed in 1950, sits at the end of the rail link. The plaque describes the steam locomotive, which has 1,020 bullet holes, as “a symbol of the tragic history of the division into North and South Korea”. Shuttle buses take visitors from Imjingak to further north.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/where-south-korea-meets-the-north/article25018530.ece

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