SEOUL, Jun. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The third and last hiking trail along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that demarcates the two Koreas is expected to open in the border town of Paju in September, officials said Sunday.
The western section of the DMZ trail in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, about 30 kilometers northwest of Seoul, appears to be available to the public for the government-initiated DMZ Peace Trail program at around the end of September, according to the Paju city government officials.
The first DMZ Peace Trail was launched in the eastern coastal region of Goseong, Gangwon Province, in April, and the second one opened this month in the central border town of Cheorwon, Gangwon Province.
According to the officials, the Paju course will start from the Imjingak Pavilion and lead to a demolished guard post via the Dorasan Observatory. It will be around 20 kilometers for a round trip.
The guard post is one of 10 in the DMZ that South Korea demolished in accordance with the inter-Korean military accord signed in September last year aimed at reducing tensions and building trust.
The two sides agreed to remove 11 guard posts each but later decided to disarm and keep one each for its historic value.
“To ensure safety and security of potential tourists, the trip will be made mostly by bus,” an official said.
The United Nations Command (UNC), which oversees activities within the buffer zone, earlier approved the opening of the DMZ for a hiking trail in the three border towns.
The project is part of the South Korean government’s efforts to have visitors experience inter-Korean peace and the security situation on the peninsula.
The DMZ, which is about 250 kilometers long and 4 km wide, is one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders, with the rival Koreas technically in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.