Who are living in the area surrounding the DMZ?
As of 2014, the population of the border area is 90,000 (Incheon Metropolitan City), 2.26 million (Gyeonggi-do), and 0.43 million (Gangwon-do), accounting for 16.9% of 16.42 million of the three cities and provinces combined (3.1% for Incheon Metropolitan City, 18.3% for Gyeonggi-do, 23.0%, and for Gangwondo).
Villages on the CCL are disappearing
A total of 113 villages used to be located in the DMZ on the south of the DMZ without being marked on the map. Only 8 are left as of 2015: four in Gyeonggi-do—Daeseong-dong (Village of Freedom), Baegyeon-ri (Tongilchon), Dongpa-ri (Haemaruchon), Hoengsan-ri, and four in Gangwondo—Igil-ri, Jeongyeon-ri, Yugok-ri (Tongilchon), Mahyeon-ri.
Newly born villages in the CCZ
Between 1959 and 1973, in an effort to cope with North Korea’s Seonjeonchon (propaganda village), South Korea built 99 Jarip Anjeongchon (independent stable village), 12 Jaegeonchon (reconstruction village) with strategic characteristics, and two Tongilchon (unification village), model farming villages to supplement shortcomings of Jaegeonchon, in the CCL area. Jarip Anjeongchon was established in the CCZ in response to North Korea, which established Seonjeonchon, a farming village near the DMZ after the Armistice Agreement was signed. The South Korean government implemented extensive migration policies to use land as farmland through Jarip Anjeongchon and earn the propaganda effect towards the north. Jaegeonchon was established for strategic purposes to yield even powerful psychological effect toward the north than Jarip Anjeongchon and increase production of food by cultivating abandoned land. That is why the village was called Jaegeonchon, named after the political slogan widely used at the time. Tongilchon is a strategic model farming village to supplement limitations of Jaegeonchon. In the 1980s, residents in the villages started to complain about the complicated access process and demand regulations on farming facilities be eased, so the government started to move the CCL northward.
※References: Future of the DMZ (Eung-rae CHO and others, Hanul Academy), The DMZ talks to me (Eun-jin PARK, Wisdom House)
Daeseong-dong is the only village established in the DMZ as the name of “Village of Freedom” on August, 3, 1953. It has been maintained according to the supplementary provision of the Armistice Agreement stating that residents who were living within the DMZ at the time when the Armistice Agreement was signed were allowed to live in the current place. As of July, 1953, when the agreement was signed, 160 persons were living in 60 houses. As of the end of 2014, 207 persons are living in 49 houses.
Tongilchon was built in the CCL according to active migration policies. In April, 1972, 14 retired, non-commissioned officers started living and farming in the village. In May of the same year, according to President Pak Chung Hee’s direction to “establish strategic model farming villages by supplementing shortcomings of Jaegeonchon,” Baegyeon-ri was re-named “Tongilchon with strong anti-communist sentiment” in August, 1973.
In contrast to all villages in the CCL that were established under the anticommunist policies, Haemaruchon was established as a result of the Sunshine Policy of Engagement. In 2001, 52 houses were built in the village under the form of a treble clef