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Posted: April 17, 2017

North Korea missile test: What is the DMZ?


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North Korea missile test: What is the DMZ?
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives with U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, second from right, commander of the United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command, and South Korean Deputy Commander of the Combined Force Command Gen. Leem Ho-young, left, at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, South Korea, Monday, April 17, 2017. Viewing his adversaries in the distance, Pence traveled to the tense zone dividing North and South Korea and warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, 'the era of strategic patience is over.' (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

By Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Vice President Mike Pence toured the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Monday, warning leaders in North Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over.”

Pence arrived at Camp Bonifas, a military base near the zone, on Monday morning, and was taken to see the DMZ after a briefing with military leaders. He is expected to meet with American troops later in the day. His stop in South Korea is the first on a 10-day tour of Asia.

Pence toured the area said to be the most militarized border on earth. He was seen being photographed by North Korean troops stationed on the other side of the DMZ.

What is the Demilitarized Zone and why is it there? Here’s a quick look at its history.

What is the Korean Demilitarized Zone?

The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ serves as a border between North Korea and South Korea. There is an enormous military presence on each side of the zone.

When was it created?

The zone was born out of an agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

How big is it?

The Korean DMZ is 160 miles long and 2½ miles wide.

Where is it? 

The zone crosses the Korean peninsula, intersecting the 38th parallel north. The 38th parallel was the border between North and South Korea before the Korean War in the 1950s. The DMZ incorporates 1.2 miles of land on either side of what was the cease-fire line at the end of the war.

Does anyone ever go into it? 

There is a meeting point in the zone called the Joint Security Area. It is near the western end of the DMZ where the village of Panmunjom once stood. If negotiations over some conflict are needed, that is the place where representatives of both sides can meet.

During the last 60 years, there have also been a series of tunnels dug under the zone by North Korea. The tunnels are believed to have been built as an invasion route for North Korean forces.

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