Peering Over the Fence

In a past article for, Lucy Corne describes her visit to the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, that creates the boarder between North and South Korea. Aside from a single train pass made through the zone in May 2007, as described in the exerpt below, Corne sees little progress towards improved relations between the two countries, which seem at times to be more like one divided nation.

Close by is the now famous Dorasan Station, once labelled ‘the last station in the South’ but now thought of as ‘the first station before the North’. Opened in 2002, it’s a bright, modern building that receives a mere handful of passengers, largely military personnel, each year.

In May 2007 the station saw its first ever international train pass by as 100 South Koreans made a cursory visit into the North and back to much political fanfare.

South Koreans remain divided on the train issue. While some are hopeful that the day-long opening of the line might signal the start of a unification process, many are critical and sceptical.

Critical because South Korea paid something in the region of $80 million to the North for the privilege of sending a train 20km over the border.

Sceptical because, despite the pomp and circumstance, there is no sign that the event was anything other than a chance to test the rails and a large scale publicity stunt.