South Koreans may get to walk across fortified DMZ


SEOUL • Instagramming tourists may soon get the chance to reenact one of Asia’s most iconic moments in recent memory — April’s embrace between the leaders of the two Koreas.

Visitors to the Joint Security Area — where soldiers from the two sides have stood face to face for decades — will be able to freely cross the demarcation line “in the near future”, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said yesterday, without specifying a date. That includes South Korean nationals, who have been barred from taking part in such trips since 1953 — except for a special reunion in which select elderly South Koreans were allowed to cross the border to visit relatives.

The ministry said it plans to work with relevant officials, including the US and the United Nations, to lift the restrictions as soon as possible.

Expect social media feeds to buzz with images of tourists embracing and stepping over the 50cm wide cement slab at the border to recreate the April 27 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

The pair signed an agreement pledging to “transform the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) into a peace zone” to demonstrate their desire to end the still-unresolved Korean War.

South Korean government officials were expected to visit the DMZ yesterday afternoon to observe landmine removal from the border zone.