In Front Of Them All
SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) — North Korea was marking the 65th birthday of leader Kim Jong Il on Friday amid progress in ending its nuclear programs and lingering speculation abroad over who will eventually succeed him.Kim’s birthday is one of North Korea’s most important national holidays and one in which the personality cult inherited from his father, the country’s founder Kim Il Sung, is arguably the most visible.North Koreans usually receive benefits such as extra food, but it remains unclear whether the country can dole out such largesse this year, given chronic food shortages and U.N. sanctions imposed over its October 9 nuclear test.
Jonathan and I managed to visit the DMZ on a pretty special day. It’s the “Dear Leader’s” bithday! So for nostalgia, that’s kind of neat. Some pictures will be posted soon to my Flickr gallery, so you can enjoy the sights. My best camera was not working properly all day, so I wasn’t able to get some of the pictures I wanted, but I’m sure I’ll go again.
Our tour began with a briefient by one of the US Army MP’s who gave us a brief history of the Koraen War, and the establishment of the DMZ. Then we went to the various sites he spoke about. It was pretty cool to stand in the same room that several different diplomatic meetings have taken place. The building straddles the actual “demarcation line,” or border. You can walk into North Korea. That’s cool, but has lost a bit of its lustre for me since I had already been much further inside North Korea last November.
After tourning the DMZ, we went to one of the tunneles that the Korean Peoples Army dug seemingly to launch a quick assault on Seoul. So far four such tunnles have been found.
Entry filed under: Sightseeing.