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Travelling into Korea’s demilitarised zone at Panmunjom

55 years since the creation of the DMZ – Korea’s heavily guarded demilitarised zone – Mark Tran pays a visit to a living museum of the cold war

Before entering the most sensitive area of Korea’s demilitarised zone (DMZ – pronounced the American way), visitors are required to sign a form that begins: “The visit to the joint security area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and the possibility of injury or death.”

In truth, the fiercest thing we saw on our tour of was our formidable guide, Laura. A South Korean lady in her fifties, she repeatedly told us during the tour not to drink alcohol, not to chew gum, not to point and not to fall asleep during the 15-minute briefing that awaited us.

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