Panmunjom is the "truce village" in the center of the 4 km demilitarized zone (or DMZ) along the 38th parallel, between North Korea and South Korea. Panmunjom was destroyed during the Korean War, and rebuilt to serve as a point of communication between North Korea and the rest of the world. On June 8, 1953, The Delegation of the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers signed an armistice with the United Nations Command Delegation. Relations between North and South Korea have been relatively stable ever since.
Panumjom is also one of the world's strangest tourist attractions. Each year, approximately 200,000 tourists from around the world come up by bus from Seoul to tour the Joint Security Area, the area controlled by the north and south, at Panmunjom. There, they can meet real, live, North Korean soldiers, visit the blue hut where diplomatic meetings take place between the North and South, and buy anti-American propaganda at the gift shop. (U.S. dollars only, please.)
is also a novel written by Lee Ho Chul
, a popular Korean novelist. In the story, two journalists, a man from South Korea and a woman from North Korea, meet and fall in love in Panmunjom
, only to face the impossibility of hooking up
. The story is intended as a parallel
to the story of North and South Korea--both sides want unity
, but the differences make it impossible to get together.