As the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Berlin wall's end, between south and north Korea stands a wall.
The north korean colonel interview=
You have travelled a long way to reach the security check point, and I’m very happy
to see you here. I’d like to welcome you on behalf of all our soldiers.
We are now in the military zone and here you can see the great weapon protected
wall that shows the division between a country and its people.
As you know, Korea, land of the bright morning, has a long history of five dynasties
with a brilliant culture. But due to the power of the conflicts with the Americans, the
United States, more than half a century later we are still suffering the tragedy of the
The tragedy of the separation of a country and a nation causes much suffering to our
people, which is unheard of in other parts of the world.
The militarized wall is a symbol of the separation of our nation, let me explain (he
turns to the map behind him)
Here, is the militarized wall which separates our country in two, now here we have
displayed the wall from west to east.
The Korean government started building this huge wall in august 1976, and finished it
in October 1979.
According to American statements, it’s the South Korean president at the time who
initiated the construction of the wall
Wecan say that this wall is a large artificial
wall, which separates perfectly our territory from the east to the west, over 240
kilometers in total. It’s height is between 5 and 8 meters, and it’s width at the base is
between 10 and 19 meters, and it’s width at the top is between 3 and 7 meters.
As you can see here, if you look at it from the South Korean side, it’s slightly inclined,
but from the North Korean side it’s vertical.
At the North Korean line starts the demilitarized zone, and if you go forward for two
kilometers from this point, you reach the central demarcation line, and if you go
forward two kilometers more to the south, thus 4 kilometers in total, there’s where
they built the wall.
The wall is 240 kilometers long, so what does this mean in terms of the amount
of men mobilized, on the south and north sides? It’s 240 km long, that’s huge.
So there are men posted all along, so what are the estimates of the north
Korean and American soldiers?
Every 5 or 7 meters you can find a military post, so it’s easy, you just have to work it
out… (between 35 and 48000 men). They have barricaded the whole territory, even
the mountains, the rivers, the forests, everything…
can you explain to us in simple terms how many men make up the army, in
north korea? How many north Korean soldiers are there at the moment?
We can’t really know exactly…
But in North Korea, in total, it is said that there are two million soldiers, is that
not what is said?
We can’t really know exactly…
In France, we do not have a mandatory military service, in North Korea how
does it work?
In our country, we say that national defense is the supreme right of each citizen, our
young people, almost all our young people, do not consider it to be mandatory, but
like a right to volunteer. With the country being divided, and the considerable might of
the enemy, our young people are always considering doing their military service.
Do these young people consider that South Korea and North Korea form a
Yes, of course, because it’s the same nation, they have the same culture.
When the tourists come here, do they then understand the situation a little
better, according to the colonel?
By seeing the wall for themselves, all the tourists understand exactly what the
situation is. A lot of foreign tourists, including French tourists, have visited the wall,
and have had an exact understanding.
We know that the United states are clearly the identified enemy, and who are
the other enemies and true friends of North Korea today?
For a long time, the US have been our sworn enemies, the Americans are
responsible for all the pain and suffering of our nation, and the Japanese are also our
enemies, they are against the reunification of our country, and finally, some south
Koreans are going to prolong the division of the nation.
And the real friends of North Korea?
We consider as our friends, all the progressive states of the world, who raise their
voices against the division of our nation, who reduce the entry of american troops
into south korea, including the international intervention by France as well.
So France is a friend, or a foe?
(laughs) During the Korean wall, the French government was mobilized into the
affray by the Americans, due to the UN security resolution, but we still consider the
French people to be our friend.
And the fact that France has joined NATO? An alliance with the Americans, is
that a problem?
I’m not a NATO specialist, NATO is not doing much to help our nation reunite.
Leaving NATO was a good thing, but re-entering is bad (laughs) because the
Americans have the control of NATO
do you think that Obama will change the US’s policies towards North Korea?
Our soldiers are keeping a close watch of Obama’s government’s new policies, but
as you know, after our satellite was launched, the US was the first to adopt a
resolution against the launch of our satellite, and sanction us for doing so.
But why do they do so?
They do not want a small country like North Korea to have military techniques. They
think of themselves as a super power, in the world, as if they were the world’s police.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. It is 155 miles (248 km) long and approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, and is the most heavily armed border in the world.
This isolation has created as a byproduct one of the most well-preserved pieces of temperate land in the world!!
The 2 countries have signed armistice but NOT the peace...
La Korean Demilitarized Zone, KMZ, est une bande de terre qui court le
long de la péninsule coréenne pour séparer le nord et le sud le long
du 38eme parallèle. Les deux pays ont signés l’armistice, mais pas la
Paix. La frontière est marquée par une bordure en béton. Seuls les
coréens du nord continuent à assurer une présence physique, les
américains et les sud coréens ont construit un immense bâtiment d’où
ils surveillent via cameras les mouvements du Nord.
Franchir la frontière revient à se faire tirer dessus. Peu de nord coréens osent franchir le 38eme parallèle car les représailles envers la famille restante, les voisins et les collègues de travail sont immédiates.
© Eric Lafforgue