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KOREAS 27 Jul 2013 Korean war armistice anniversary a spotlight on DMZ
The armistice that ended the fighting on the Korean peninsula didn’t deliver peace. The 60th anniversary in July throws the spotl

July 27, 2013 - NULL

KOREAS 27 Jul 2013 Korean war armistice anniversary a spotlight on DMZ
The armistice that ended the fighting on the Korean peninsula didn't deliver peace. The 60th anniversary in July throws the spotlight on the volatile relations between the two Koreas and particularly on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the neighbors. Since its depopulation in the 1950s as a buffer zone, it has become a haven for plants and animals. In these generally less tense times, the zone is increasingly under threat from farm encroachment, and reunification would spell its death as a natural haven. Environmentalists are at work trying

KOREAS 27 Jul 2013 Korean war armistice anniversary a spotlight on DMZ
The armistice that ended the fighting on the Korean peninsula didn't deliver peace. The 60th anniversary in July throws the spotlight on the volatile relations between the two Koreas and particularly on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the neighbors. Since its depopulation in the 1950s as a buffer zone, it has become a haven for plants and animals. In these generally less tense times, the zone is increasingly under threat from farm encroachment, and reunification would spell its death as a natural haven. Environmentalists are at work trying to win protected status for it.
A report on the DMZ haven in The Guardian notes that 67 of the world's most endangered species of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects reside in the DMZ, a slice of the original biodiversity of the strip. It also notes that resurgent agricultural development in a country ever nervous about food security is destroying swaths of the restored habitat and clearing away plant regrowth.

One of the world's biggest conservation conferences opened on the Korean island of Jeju in September. According to the newspaper, scientists and experts on the area pleaded unsuccessfully with the southern government to offer the DMZ area internationally protected status.

Only 2.4 miles wide, the core of the DMZ extends 154 miles - all the way across Korea. It is described as richly diverse landscape, with coastal and river areas and wetlands and high wooded mountains. Small patrols of soldiers are allowed in the zone. An additional strip of 4.3 miles to 9.3 miles on either side is a civilian restricted zone.

A new level of commercial interaction has made the border zone safer for people and the environmentalists foresee further encroachment of farmland into the restricted area as the process continues. (WRITTEN SEP 2012)

RELATED READING:

North Korea vows 'unprecedented' action against South (BBC 23 Apr 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17810198

Wildlife haven in the Korean DMZ under threat (Guardian 6 Sep 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/06/wildlife-haven-korean-dmz-threat?newsfeed=true

Date written/update: 2013-07-27