Border line area
DMZ’s neighboring villages dreaming of a bigger future
The DMZ has previously been a space of fantasy to us due to it being a difficult place to visit. However, these days there are people living in the villages near the DMZ. A lot of things had to be sacrificed in order to be a neighbor to the DMZ, but there are still people who have big dreams.
<landscape viewed from Goseong unification observatory> Photo by the Goseong county office
New space made by the DMZ, the border line area
To the general public, ‘the border line area’ is an ambiguous word. It sounds like a region close to the border, or regions in contact with the boundary. Considering the state of the two Koreas, it is possible that the term may refer to an area that has a certain relationship with the DMZ, however; it is still uncertain. The border line in general means a ‘specific area adjacent to a particular boundary line’. Given this concept, the border line area can be seen where boundaries between provinces, counties, and even between provinces and counties within a country are shared. However, ‘the border line area’ generally means a boundary between two countries, in other words ‘a certain area near the border’, and its range differs in every country. Our country’s border line area is based on the「Border Area Support Act」. The scope is fixed by three different standards, and six cities and counties in Gangwon-do, seven cities and counties in Gyeonggi-do, and two counties in Incheon, which is the borderline area. All of these cities and counties are adjacent or within the DMZ.
■ The border line area according to the「Border Area Support Act」
City and county adjacent to the DMZ or NLL
Incheon (Ganghwa/Ongjin), (Gimpo/Paju/Yeoncheon), Gangwon(cheorwon/Inje/Hwacheon/Yanggu/Goseong)
Regions south from the CCL, city and county decided by distance from the CCL and their geographical location
Communal settlement region within the DMZ
Communal settlement region located in Gunnae-myun, Paju-si near the DMZ
The land controlled by regulation, where freedom is needed
For the past 60 years, the border line area has been viewed in a negative way due to its location near the militarily region. Development of land at the border line area was restricted by the various regulations, and residents could not dispose of their private properties at will. Nowadays, many regulations are applied to most of the border line areas. Therefore, compared to the administration district area, results of the regulated land used by individual law shows more than 100% of the entire area is restricted by a zoning law. Also, in Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do, the regulated area has a ratio of more than 200%. In the case of the protected zone at the military installations, regulated areas are continuously changing their status and becoming more deregulated. However, this is seen from the nation’s standard of 52.6%, which is 10 times more than in other regions.
■ The current status of the regulated land compared to the administrative area near the borderline area
Administrative district area
Regulated area percentage
Protection zone of military installations
Natural environment conservation area
Agricultural development region
Protected water source area
Baekdudaegan preservation area
※ 단위 : ㎢
Note 1. Ministry of Public Administration and Security general subsidy ‘s calculation history(2009) is the standard of protection zone of military installations area.
Note 2. Administrative district area, natural environment conservation area, farming area (no city region), green zone (city region), agricultural development region, and national park area’s materials are from cities and provinces’ statistics and annual report (2007). Materials of protection area of source water, wildlife sanctuary, and Baekdudaegan preservation area are from Ministry of Environment data..
Regulation on usage of the borderline area’s land presented greatly preserved ecological environment, but slowed down local growth and lagged local residents’ life. Fiscal self-reliance ratio of the borderline area today is much lower than metropolitan cities and provinces as well as a decrease in population in most of the area. Are we paying less attention to people living near the DMZ even though our point of view towards DMZ has changed and grabbed world’s attention? Can people living near the borderline area restricted by many regulations view DMZ as ‘new area of peace’ just like we do?
The government enacted「Border Area Support Act」(2011) and is searching for ways for the growth of border line area, improvement of residents’ quality of life and to systematically preserve natural environment. Our attention is also significant. Even though we are shouting out ‘peaceful DMZ, eye-catching DMZ’, there are actually people whom are living together with DMZ. DMZ’s tomorrow might change depending on how these people think and show THEIR attitude towards DMZ.
■ Comparison of fifteen border line area cities and counties’ fiscal self-reliance ratio
<Source: The safety administration finance research(https://lofin.mois.go.kr/)
Rise as the center of a unified Korea
The Korean War and appearance of the DMZ changed Korea’s fate. However, more importantly, ordinary people and the destiny of their village has changed. Not only the DMZ, but we also need to consider the neighboring regions. It was isolated as a spot of territorial use, but the borderline area is a region of opportunity to our people when we think of unification.
Firstly, the borderline area will be the center for human and material exchange. Since the main traffic network between the North and South will pass through this area, it will become a passageway and link to the North and South. Secondly, there is a lot of historical and cultural heritage located here, due to the borderline areas historical location at the center zone of the Korean Peninsula. Due to fierce battles during the Korean War around the center of the DMZ, many historical relics containing evidence from the war were left behind. Also, in terms of local economic development, it is highly competitive because of the close distance to the capital area as well as being geographically adjacent to Asia’s economic block. Lastly, there is access control and regulation from the division of Korea and military confrontation over the past 50 years, therefore an excellent natural ecosystem has been preserved.
It is now time for us to change the borderline area from a hostile place to a reconciled and consolidated one. In the past, the borderline area stepped forward into an establishment of peace by the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, Mount Kumgang tour, South-North connection road and opening railroad. Now is the moment to take another step forward. We should not forget the important role of the borderline area when the future of a unified Korea is in front of us. We must try our best so that the borderline area can be a symbol of reconciliation and peace.
The current status of the world borderline area and examples of their successful use
There are borderline areas around the world that are in separation and confrontation like our DMZ, and examples of maintaining peaceful relationships by successful cooperation. We can examine our track by looking at examples of foreign borderline areas where they have chosen ‘cooperation’ instead of conflict and endeavor for each other’s development.
■ Hong Kong and Shenzhen’s exclusive industrial zone
The Shenzhen special economic zone was established at Hong Kong's borderline area due to China’s reform policy. Throughout Hong Kong, it was utilized as an experimental stage for technology exchange and to attract foreign capital. Hong Kong transferred their manufacturing industry to the Shenzhen special zone and secured a great competitive advantage. Also, it was able to develop as central zone for trade, finance, conventions, and travelling services.
■ The cultural exchange and cooperation between China and Taiwan in the banking regions
China was able to accelerate economic development around the mainland coastal area by obtaining overseas sales networks and export know-how through joint production with Taiwan. Taiwan was also able to cut down their cost of production by using China’s cheap workforce and raw materials as well as developing industrial structures by transferring their labor-intensive industry.
■ The borderline area of East and West Germany changed to peace belt
In 1973, after the establishment of border committee, there was a finalization about joint disaster prevention in borderline area and agreement on joint alternation when accidents such as fire, flood and explosive occur. Since the late 1980s, East and West Germany tied a sisterhood relationship. Exhibitions with general public and institutions’ participation were held and meeting place was formed by sport group’s mutual visit. This was possible due to West Germany’s leading role based on unification policy and it became the cause of preparing link base between regions that were still divided after Unification.
■ The area of the borderline named the Gruenes Band business in East and West Germany
The boundary line between East and West Germany was 1,393km in length. Many rare animals and plants existed here, since it was prohibited for people to live in this region. East and West Germany started the ‘Gruenes Band’ business after unification to preserve that area. Decades after unification, the old border line area’s ecology resource has been preserved without damage, becoming a cooperation place of the local development and expanding into Europe’s greenbelt.
■ Joint usage of the borderline area by South and North Yemen
Despite the separation, the joint development of underground resources, such as oil, within the borderline area and usage of education as well as culture and information facilities have improved in the long run. Through both nations’ unions cooperating, unification was possible by economic and social exchange such as joint investigations on geological features and water resources, establishment of joint schools and subject consensus and etc.
■ The Growth Triangle of Singapore, Johor and Riau
The ‘Growth Triangle’ is a policy established mainly by Johor (Malaysia); The Batam Island and Riau district (Indonesia) for Singapore’s advanced industrial structures. Through this policy, three nations with different resources were able to link each other and increase a rate of regional economic growth and enhance trade potential.
■ The US and Mexico’s Maquiladora program
The ‘Maquiladora’ program is a generic term used for foreign-invested company’s labor-intensive industry where raw materials, machineries, and equipment is imported with no tariff from Mexico and other regions, then re-exported as finished or half-finished products after assembly and manufacturing. That’s how Mexico’s US borderline area could develop to exceed their capital areas GNP per capita.
■ 「Border Area Support Act」 link
january 14, 2016
December 3, 2016
Past that was left for the future, DMZ (2010) HahmGwang-bok, Education Center for Unification, Ministry of Unification
Border line area development master plan – fostering the Korean Peninsula centric ecology, peace belt (2011), Ministry of Public Administration and Security
Research on correcting notion of development and direction of policy within Gangwon border line area’s (2011), Kim Beom-su, Gangwon Development Institute
Research on actual conditions of the border line area supported by the border area support act and improvement direction (2013), Hwang Geum-hoi, Gyeonggi Research Institue
Research on the effects on military by the border line area development and preservation (2002), kang Han-gu•Kwon Oh-bong, KIDA
Efficient management plan of the border line area (1997), Kim Yeong-bong, KRIHS