August 20, 2019
Latest News

North, South Korean border nature trails: idyllic vistas and remnants of war

By Andrés Sánchez Braun

Goseong (South Korea), Jun 14 (efe-epa).- The de-escalation of tension between North and South Korea has allowed hiking trails to open along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which divides the nations, however, some doubt has risen over whether these will continue to flourish following a resurgence of friction.

The silhouette of a falcon hovers over the Daehang meadows, which sits opposite a beautiful coastline.

Small deer trot across dense pine forests and rosehip bushes whilst groups of tourists look on in awe.

For security reasons visitors are only allowed to take pictures in specific areas of the route and they lament the fact they are unable to capture its idyllic beauty framed with hostile electric fencing and barbed wire.

Lee Hyun-mi, one of the hikers on the trail that departs from the South Korean border town of Goseong (some 170 kilometers northeast of the capital) describes this place as the scar that has divided both sides of the peninsula for seven decades.

The trail is one of three routes that were launched in April and May in the southern stretch of the DMZ thanks to an agreement signed in Sept. 2018 between the states still technically at war to reduce military tension and transform the border into a "peace zone."

"Don't get close to the barbed wire because you could activate the alarms that are installed to avoid North Korean infiltrations," Park Jung-hae, the official guide warned at the beginning of the walk.

Halfway into the hike, which in total is some 2.5 kilometers long, the remains of a scorched digger serve as a morbid reminder that in 2003 a soldier was struck by a landmine.

Experts estimate that there could be close to 1 million mines along the 250 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide DMZ.

Parker explained that the serviceman was lucky enough to survive the accident and adds that it is a luxury to be able to walk down these pathways that up until very recently were exclusively accessed by military personnel.

"Legend has it that here fish and mollusks die of old age," the tour guide joked pointing to the pristine beach which can be seen through the three rows of electric fencing and that locals have been banned from fishing at.

"I love telling people who visit each day the stories about the DMZ. Both the ones about the surrounding nature and those about events that took place here," Park told Efe.

Park added that he would rather not think about what would happen if the authorities decided to close down the nature trails due to the militant attitude North Korea has displayed in recent months.

Differences that have emerged between the United States and Pyongyang over a deal to denuclearize the Asian state have also affected relations between the two Koreas.

Since the Hanoi summit statement, in Feb, North Korea has toughened its rhetoric with its neighbor and even launched several short-range missiles aimed at putting pressure on Seoul to talk Washington into adopting a softer approach to denuclearization.

Lee, a young soldier who has been sent to accompany hikers on the DMZ trail as part of military service, which is obligatory for all South Korean men, is delighted with his mission and is also hopeful that the routes will remain open.

"If this is for the sake of peace, then it is worth it," the soldier concluded. EFE-EPA


News history
US congresswoman asks that US attach conditions to its economic aid to Israel

Washington DC, Aug. 19 (efe-epa).- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of the United States, one of the lawmakers who recently got barred from entering Israel,...

Twitter: China has mounted campaign to delegitimize Hong Kong protests

San Francisco, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Twitter on Monday said that it had uncovered a coordinated effort by 936 accounts originating in China to delegitimize the...

Hong Kong government announces platform for dialogue amid protests

Hong Kong, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong's chief executive on Tuesday announced the immediate creation of a platform for dialogue involving people from all...

Bangladesh says its ready to start Rohingya repatriations

Dhaka, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Bangladesh said Monday it would be ready to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar on 22 August, nearly two years...

Focus is on Macri's goals, Argentina's incoming finance minister says

Buenos Aires, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Incoming Argentine Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza said Monday that he could not discuss the details of his meeting with...

NYPD fires cop blamed for death of Eric Garner

New York, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- The head of the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced Monday the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in the...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

The world is at work on a treaty to protect the oceans

United Nations, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Countries of the United Nations set out this Monday to perfect an ambitious treaty to protect the biodiversity of the...

US gives China's Huawei another 90-day reprieve on sanctions

Washington, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that the US government would give China's Huawei Technologies another 90-day...

Taliban marks 100 years of independence

Kabul, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- The Taliban on Monday marked its hundredth anniversary of independence from Afghanistan by reiterating that foreign troops are to...

NGO boat still awaiting safe port as tensions run high aboard

Rome, Aug 19 (epa-efe).- An NGO-operated rescue vessel with 107 migrants on board which has been stranded at sea for 18 days and has been repeatedly denied...

Pro-independence protests in Indonesia's Papua region turn violent

Jakarta, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Pro-independence demonstrations took a violent turn in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua Monday during protests...

Main corruption trial against former Malaysian prime minister postponed

Bangkok, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in Malaysia on Monday postponed by a week the start of the trial against a former prime minister for his alleged role in...

China urges Trump to keep his word, allow business with Huawei in US

Beijing, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Beijing on Monday urged Donald Trump to keep his word and allow companies in the United States to do business with Chinese tech...

8,000 evacuated due to wildfire in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Some 8,000 people have been evacuated from several areas of Spain's Gran Canaria Islands due to a...

Trump acknowledges US' interest in buying Greenland from Denmark

Washington DC, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday said that Greenland was strategically interesting for his country, although...

Trump defends China policy, says US economy is world's best

Washington, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his strategy versus China, on whose goods Washington has imposed heavy tariffs as...

Colombian ex-ministers: Peace is being fired upon from many angles

By Juliana Alejandra Franco and Ovidio Castro

Migrant rescue ship demands entry to Lampedusa

(Update 1: Adds details)

Open Arms continues stranded with 107 migrants on board

Madrid, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government has on Sunday offered the “Open Arms” migrant rescue vessel the possibility of docking at the southern...

Kashmir residents denounce high number of detentions in region

By Shah Abbas

An anti-government rally in Hong Kong

By Shirley Lau

Lacunza to be Argentina's new treasury minister as Dujovne quits

Buenos Aires, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri said Sunday that Hernan Lacunza "is the right person" to replace former Finance Minister Nicolas...

Portland remains under strict police guard awaiting extremist demonstrations

Washington, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The city of Portland, Oregon, remained this Saturday under strong police guard after far-right and left-wing extremist groups...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.