The 2018 inter-Korean summit, […], will be held at Peace House in Panmunjeom and the North’s leader will be stepping onto the South Korean side of Panmunjeom for the first time.
Panmunjeom, located 52 km from Seoul, 147 km from Pyongyang, and 8 km from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, became known globally when the United Nations forces and North Korean officials met here in 1951 for truce talks. The armistice was signed in 1953 and the Military Armistice Commission subsequently held talks at the site. From 1971 onward, over 360 inter-Korean talks have been held in Panmunjeom, starting with the preliminary meeting for the Red Cross talks.
Originally, guards of the South, North, and United Nations were guaranteed free movement and access as befits Panmunjom’s status as the Joint Security Area, but, after the axe-murder incident in 1976, they were separated on their own sides of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). A row of concrete blocks, each measuring 5 cm in height and 50 cm in width, sits on the MDL between the Freedom House and Panmungak. The Line emerged as a symbol of the tragedy of national division.
The world is once again watching Panmunjeom, the venue of the 2018 inter-Korean summit, to see if it will be able to produce a bud of peace from the soil of the pain of division. •
Source: Peace, a New Start. 2018 Inter-Korean Summit. www.korea.net; http://www.korea.net/FILE/pdfdata/2018/04/2018_inter-korean_summit_EN.pdf
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