Restricted civilian area
A place where community and nature work together to sow seeds of hope
The sunlight shines on land where shadows of separation lie. The community cultivates this abandoned land in a hope that it will one day flourish.
<Sign at north of Civilian Control Line> Photo by the KangwonIlbo
Civilian Control Zone—another buffer zone wider than the DMZ
North of the borderline neighboring the DMZ, we find soldiers’ wearing black shades controlling the pedestrians. This is an indication that you have reached the fixed area between the DMZ and its border, an area restricted to civilians. The Civilian Control Line (CCL) is one of the control lines that were designated together with the birth of DMZ and is the most southern line among such lines. This restricted area controls the traffic of civilians passing through. The DMZ was designed as a buffer zone, but the risk of military collision still exists within this region. This is the reason why the CCL was set below the DMZ, to restrict civilians passing through.
与DMZ相邻的接境地区往北走过一段距离，就可以遇到戴着黑色墨镜，阻止我们继续向前的军人。位于DMZ与接境地区之间的一定空间，即‘民间人统制区’非常靠近的地方。随着DMZ的诞生，韩半岛拦腰分断的几条线中最南边的线，那就是民间人统制线（民统线，Civilian Control Line：CCL）。民间人统制区是一定部分限制普通人通行的区域，为了防止双方冲突，虽然指定了DMZ这一缓冲地带，但依然在这一带存在军事冲突的危险。所以，在DMZ下面设定民间人统制线，限制着民间人的出入。
In February 1954, the CCL was referred to as ‘Gwinongseon’, which regulated civilian farming near the DMZ under the authority of the eighth US army commander. Since then, the nation’s forces were in control of the MDL defense and the name ‘Gwinongseon’ changed to CCL. From June 1959, land utilization for civilian farming was permitted within a specified area where operational and security maintenance was unaffected. Restrictions were implemented to regulate the bypassing of civilians, cultivation and land ownership within the region. The area of the civilian control zone has been reduced as the CCL moves northwards and the military base moved 10km south from the MDL (Military Base and Protection of Military Installations Act Article 1). There are no civilian control zones at sea.
■ The scope of civilian control zone
■ Adjustment of the CCL to the North
The first scope of CCL set
20~40 km South of MDL (DMZ included)
10~20 km South of MDL (DMZ included)
5~15 km South of MDL (DMZ included)
5~10 km South of MDL (DMZ included)
Villagers of the CCL living closest to the DMZ
During the ceasefire negotiation in 1953, the South and the North agreed on the location of one village within the DMZ. This village formed Daeseong-dong in the South and Kijong-dong in the North; however, it cannot be accessed at any time. The distance between the divided villages is only 800 meters. High flagpoles form points of reference within both villages. The North Korean flagpole in Kijong-dong village is 160 meters high, and has been recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. The national flagpole in Daeseong-dong reaches 100 meters, symbolizing the competitive nature and tension between the two villages of the North and the South.
There are CCL villages located along the Southern Boundary Line (SBL) where the tention is less than that of the villages in the DMZ, namely Tongil-chon and Haemaru-chon in Paju-si. Tongil-chon is known for its cultivation of the ‘Jangdan soybean’. With the support of Paju-si, Tongil-chon hosts the Jangdan soybean festival in Jindong-myeon, Paju-si every year. The name of Haemaru-chon comes from the term ‘hae’, meaning ‘sky’ and ‘maru’ meaning ‘hill’. The size of this farming village is smaller than Tongil-chon; however it offers many attractions.
Preserving the natural ecology and habitat of migratory birds
When one thinks of the DMZ’s civilian control area, we think of a land home to a ‘blessed natural environment’. A place where cranes are in abundance, and martens and goats are in continuous search for food. The woods are a restricted area to civilians. The plain is visited by many people for its plethora of bird species in the sanctuary. The Dutayeon Valley is filled with Manchurian trouts swimming upstream, and the Yongneup Swamp of the Daeamsan Mountain is located in the Ramsar wetlands (elected and registered by the Ramsar association, recognizing the importance of wetlands). To visit these regions, one must make prior reservations, as the number of visitors is increasing, due to the growing interest in its natural ecology.
Local residents attempted to turn the civilian control zone into a place where both people and animals could coexist in harmony. Yangji-ri in Cheorwon-gun is known as the ‘migratory bird village,’ since many species of birds appear in the Togyo Reservoir. From early September, hundreds of thousands of wild geese, thousands of cranes, and about ten thousand white-napped cranes visit the reservoir to spend the winter. Yangji-ri residents ‘fulfilled an independently run crane conservation association to protect endangered cranes, as well as to feed the birds and eagles in order to sustain the ecological village.
<Migratory birds at Togyo Reservoir, Yangji-ri, Cheorwon-gun> Photo by Cheorwon County Office
Changes in the civilian control zone, with focus on residents’ life
The reason why the civilian control zone could become a place of an intact natural ecosystem is the limited access and the prohibition of development, thereby controlling the anthropogenic influences. In other words, the civilian control zone had been excluded from the development plan. Public investment lacked due to a declining popularity; however, after the 1990s, certain changes were made. Requests from local residents for easier access required the CLL to move northwards so as to obtain facilities necessary to meet the demands and regulations of diversified farming. Villages in the Northern area of the CCL merged southwards, decreasing the number of villages within the civilian restricted area.
The range of the CCL villages is gradually decreasing, and sadly the lives of the residents’ have not been improved much. The number of people leaving the community due to many regulations is increasing. Recently, a change in awareness about the DMZ has captured the attention of people, showing the value in the civilian control zone’s natural environment and its role as the outpost of a unified Korea. Nevertheless, we should always remember that the civilian control zone is not a mere “space” shaped as a relic of warfare nor an object for developmental activities. It is a place for life. It is a site with an amazing diversity of living creatures, which could have been possible due to the local residents who are still there to ensure the vitality of the land. This is why humans should become the priority in planning the future of the civilian control zone.
December 1, 2014
December 3, 2016
Past that was left for the future, DMZ (2010) HahmGwang-bok, Education Center for Unification, Ministry of Unification
Research on reduction method of CCL region’s ecosystem cause of damage and effects (2011), Park Eun-jin, Gyeonggi Research Institute
Research on correcting the notion of development and direction of policy within theGangwon border line area’s (2011), Kim Beom-su, Gangwon Development Institute
Research on efficient management plan of the DMZ and neighboring areas (2002), Korea Environment Institute, Ministry of Environment