Travel

Replica Panmunjom village draws tourists after Korea summit

With access to the real DMZ or Demilitarised Zone restricted, tourists are flocking to a replica of the border truce village of Panmunjom to re-enact the scene of the leaders of the two Koreas shaking hands.

With a low cement block between them marking the "border", they shake hands as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's President Moon Jae In did when they met at Panmunjom on April 27.

Many visitors joined hands and hopped over the mock Military Demarcation Line to the "North" and back, re-enacting the scene that was broadcast live.

Panmunjom, known as the Joint Security Area, is inside the DMZ, a 250km swath of land that divides the Korean peninsula.

The replica was built for the 2000 movie blockbuster Joint Security Area, a mystery thriller by director Park Chan-wook.

The village has UN blue-coloured huts, Panmungak, a drab cement building on the North side, and the Freedom House pavilion on the South side.

But despite the realism there is a complete lack of the tension visitors feel when they set foot on what former US president Bill Clinton once described as the "scariest place on Earth".

The facility and two other outdoor movie sets belong to the Korean Film Council's Namyangju Studios in the eastern suburbs of Seoul.

And there are only a few weeks left to visit this "Panmunjom" as the sets will be torn down after the end of May, ahead of the studio's relocation to the southern city of Busan next year. - AFP

TOURISM & TRAVEL