Villages in Civilian Control Zone
Closest to North Korea:Dreaming and Hoping
Border area, Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and Civilian Control Line — these words are familiar to them. They have lived in the civilian control zone, dreaming of a unified Korea. We all have to dream of a free and happy life so we are dreaming and hoping with these villagers.
Winds of Hope Blowing in the Civilian Control Villages
As you enter the civilian control zone past the southern limit line, you will see the civilian control villages. At this point, you may feel a lump in your throat. These civilian control villages can be found only in South Korea and nowhere in the world. Their number, however, has reached a high 427.
The South Korean rural villages are less accessible and have low profits, but the situation is worse with the civilian control villages beyond the southern limit line. We must create a life foundation where we can all blend together, and we should pay keen attention to the civilian control villages, which are less accessible and estranged. Let us all together reshape the future of the civilian control villages, dreaming of a happy life for their residents.
Villagers Dreaming of Future Happiness
Of the various villages in the civilian control zone, several villages, including Hyeon 3-ri in Haean-myeon, Yanggu-gun; Mandae-ri in Haean-myeon, Yanggu-gun; Igil-ri in Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun; and Saengchang-ri in Gimhwa-eup, Cheorwon-gun, opened village forums to create the foundations for the development of their own village.
At the forums, all the villagers participated in discussions where they examined the characteristics of their respective villages, put together the residents’ opinions, and planned businesses based on the identified village characteristics.
Based on such forum discussions, businesses were planned as follows. Hyeon 3-ri Village in Haean-myeon, Yanggu-gun is a basin located 1,000 m above sea level, at the very heart of the Korean Peninsula. It boasts excellent-tasting fruits and vegetables superior to those of other regions due to the big difference in the village’s daily temperature, not to mention cool summer weather. To take advantage of these strengths, the village is planning to establish factories for processing the high-quality fruits and vegetables that it produces during the season with a big daily temperature difference, and to make and sell the village’s representative products. Also, capitalizing on its cool summer weather, the village is discussing a pension business to attract more tourists.
Mandae-ri Village, a basin, boasts splendid views and cool summer weather. In winter, however, it has much snowfall and low temperatures, significantly limiting the villagers’ outdoor activities. Converting such weaknesses into strengths, the village is planning to create a sledding slope resort. For summer, the village is planning an all-terrain vehicle (4-wheel motorcycle) business. It is also planning to make roads of flowers, which is seen as essential for reshaping the village.
Igil-ri Village in Dongseung-eup, Cheorwon-gun is the country’s largest migratory bird destination, boasting a splendid natural environment worth conserving. The village is thus discussing the creation of an eco-park. Also, taking advantage of its characteristics, the village is planning crane-motif businesses, including a crane character business, a crane experience program and space, a crane exhibition center, and a crane-egg-shaped food business.
Saengchang-ri Village boasts an abundance of rare animals and plants well preserved in the pristine DMZ ecosystem, and the relics frequently being discovered, making it a long-human-history preservation village. It presents fertile soil and ample water resources from reservoirs, easily providing drinking and other-purpose water even during droughts. This enables the village to produce delicious and high-quality agricultural products. Taking advantage of these strengths in addition to its natural ecological environment and historical records, and to attract more tourists, the village is planning to construct bridges and to produce jams and vegetable and fruit chips.
As such, the four of civilian control villages discussed their village development ideas and plans through the village forums. In a nutshell, they intend to use their potential resources and to develop diverse village businesses. Let us all join forces to help brighten the future of the civilian control villages.
To Be Remembered as Villages Resonating with Laughter
The people in the civilian control villages, who are familiar with words, border areas, and the DMZ, are now resolutely endeavoring to shed their civilian control village image and to make their villages remembered as villages full of laughter. They are thus dreaming of a bright future. If we give them more support and attention, we can help convert their villages into friendly neighboring villages instead of strange, inaccessible villages. We expect that the civilian control villages will emerge as villages taking full advantage of their characteristics, beyond a small rural village’s economic development.
December 30, 2015
December 3, 2016