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U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Visits Demilitarized Zone and Military Demarcation Line
North-South Korea DMZ, Korea
October 26, 2006

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On their fourth day in South Korea and three days before their opening game in the Peace Queen Cup, 12 members of the U.S. Women?s National Team took an hour bus ride north from their base in Seoul to visit one of the world?s most interesting and unnerving landmarks, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. The trip had even more of an edge to it considering the recent controversy over nuclear testing in North Korea, but the U.S. team was very well taken care of by the USO, the Korean hosts and U.S. soldiers.

The 155 mile long and 2.5 mile wide DMZ stretches along the 38th parallel from coast to coast on the Korean peninsula, separating North and South Korea, and is the most heavily armed border in the world. After the creation of the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in 1948, the 38th parallel became the de facto international border, a focal point in the Korean War that claimed three million lives and one of the most tense fronts in the cold war. Since then, the DMZ has had a history of skirmishes between the two sides.

Bisecting the DMZ is the Military Demarcation Line, or MDL, an imaginary line marked by white posts every 10 meters or so that serves as the real border between the two countries. The U.S. players actually got to walk right up to the line, which is represented by a concrete slab between two buildings, and even went into North Korea, which you can do if you enter one of the United Nations buildings that straddle the MDL. The MDL even goes right down the middle of a conference table where the North Koreans and the UN representatives meet face-to-face.

Excerpt from the full report can be found here.

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