On July the first 1951 the two sides in the Korean war began to negotiate for peace, and now, almost fifteen years later, the negotiators still hold regular meetings at Panmunjom.
BORDER MEETING AREA: ARRIVALS FOR MEETING: SOLDIERS: MILITARY POLICE: DEMILITARISED ZONE.
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Background: On July the first 1951 the two sides in the Korean war began to negotiate for peace, and now, almost fifteen years later, the negotiators still hold regular meetings at Panmunjom.
During the Korean war more than two million people were killed or injured, 140,000 of them Americans. In the interim there has been no settlement of peace treaty. The meetings at Panmunjom have served as valua le contact points where alleged violations of the lengthy armistice can be ironed out. The negotiators face each other over a table in a nissen hut - divided exactly by the 150 mile (240 Kms) demilitarised zone. Now the meetings have developed into a running battle to gain "face", but the hut has become an attraction for tourists who arrive by coach and peer through the windows. For the benefit of the tourists the voices of the negotiators are broadcast over loudspeakers.
While Panmunjom has become one of the major attractions for visitors to South Korea, almost matching "Checkpoint Charlie" in West Berlin as a showplace of East-West confrontation, the military deployment in the country still remains astonishingly high. Many of the war's famous battle points are still occupied by South Korean and American forces. And across the frontier North Korean divisions are stationed in constant readiness. The United States still maintains more than 50,000 troops in South Korea, and there are at least 600,000 men in the South Korean forces.
Very little appears to be accomplished at the frequent meetings of the Armistice Commission at Panmunjom, but the road leading to the peace camp winds through dense minefields.