DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

According to the dictionary, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) refers to a “prohibited military zone by international treaty or convention.”

The Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, is a region on the Korean peninsula that demarcates North Korea from South Korea. It was established in July 1953 as a result of the Korean War that started on June 25, 1950. It serves as a buffer zone to prevent any means of provocative action and collision between the South and the North.

The Military Demarcation Line (MDL), sometimes referred to as the Armistice Line, was also established on July 27, 1953 after the Armistice Agreement was signed between the commander of the UN forces, the commander of the Chinese People’s Army, and the commander of the North Korean People’s Army. It is stated on Article 1 and Clause 1 of the Armistice Agreement that both South Korea and North Korea will establish a single military demarcation line to secure the demilitarized zone by mutually retreating 2km from each party.

The DMZ surrounds the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), which covers 248km (155 miles) and separates the South and the North. The Southern and Northern boundaries of the DMZ (Southern Limit Line and Northern Limit Line) are each located 2km from the MDL.

Unlike the DMZ which was agreed upon by both parties, the Civilian Control Line (CCL) was established from an independent decision of South Korea. The CCL refers to the boundary line whose locations vary between 5 to 20km south of the southern boundary of the DMZ. Its purpose is to control civilian access into the hazardous area near the DMZ, to prevent civilians from being exposed to dangerous situations, to prevent information leakage and to protect military facilities.

The Civilian Control Area is an area where the freedom of inhabitation, movement, choice of occupation, and ownership of personal property are highly restricted and thus civilian entrances are allowed only within limited scope. Because of its low population density and restrained development, the area is recently highly valued for its environmental resource and undisrupted ecosystem.