The DMZ Peace Trail in Cheorwon is one of three hiking routes opening to the public for the first time.
The trail was recently approved by the United Nations Command along with another trail in Paju in the western section of the DMZ,… and from June 1st, Cheorwon will be open for hikers.
Hikers can begin their trek from the Monument for the Battle of Baekma,… a place notorious for the battles fought there during the Korean War.
Over ten days of fighting,… Baekma hill, which was a key military supply route for both sides, changed hands 24 times.
Visitors will continue their hike near the 250-kilometers long DMZ, walking along the wire fence that blocks access to the 4-kilometer wide zone.
While the fence that separates the two Koreas might evoke a feeling of danger,… a military officer in charge of the program says it is 100-percent safe.
"Before opening this area to the public, safety was the first priority. In fact, the safety of the area was approved after several inspections by the United Nations Command. For example, the military have made the safety issue 100-percent clear by making certain sections, such as the Southern Limit Line, only accessible by vehicle."
Also, as part of efforts to better guarantee visitors' safety,… South Korea notified North Korea of the tour program via an inter-Korean military communication channel.
And after some walking and a ride along the DMZ's southern boundary,… visitors will arrive at the Arrowhead Hill Guard Post, which had been a highly-secure and off-limits area since the division of the Korean Peninsula.
"The trail's highlights also include the now-defunct guard posts, where troops withdrew in accordance with the September military accord. The opening of the DMZ Peace Trail will mark the first time the public will be able to tour inside the symbol of Peace."
Inside the guard post there's evidence of the fierce battle, with empty shells and mines that were excavated from the area between October and December last year on display.
To walk along the Cheorwon trail, you need to apply through the DMZ's website.
The trail will be open to hike twice a day every week, except Tuesdays and Thursdays,but you must be at least ten years old.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News, Cheorwon.