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World Ch. Schedule : WED 09:05 KST

* Date : 2015-11-04

50 Miles of DMZ on Water

Korea is the only divided country in the world. A 249-km long, 2km-wide Demilitarized Zone cuts across the middle of the Korean Peninsula and stands as a symbol of division. It is no man's land that forbids all entry.

But the restricted status of the DMZ also applies to the river that runs along it. The 81-km Hangang River estuary that stretches from the small island of Maldo to the Observatory Tower in Odusan Mountain is also off limits. It is known as the "Demilitarized Zone on water."

For what reason was the control line drawn across the river? To answer that question, Mirja Maletzki embarks on a trip to the place. She came to Korea with plans to study as an exchange student for a year but ended up staying for 14 years. She appeared on the popular TV show "A Chat with Beauties" as a regular guest. She is fluent in Korean and has learned as much about Korea as she could. Her TV appearance has also brought her fame, and she currently works as an interpreter and translator.

Mirja begins her trip around the Hangang River estuary in Ganghwa-gun. To enter a village within the Civilian Control Line, she undergoes an ID check at a military checkpoint. Most of the villagers are displaced people from the North who fled to the South during the Korean War. They are elderly people whose best times are behind them. In them Mirja sees the sadness of having to live as displaced people for 60 years when their hometown is just across the river. Mirja was born in East Germany and her maternal grandmother endured the same agony of separation that these villagers are still experiencing today.

After her week-long journey, Mirja learns why the Hangang River estuary became a restricted area after the armistice agreement was signed in 1953. Having lived in East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell, Mirja is in a unique position to weigh in on Korea's reunification issue. She advocates reunification of the two Koreas and explains why it is important on Arirang Prime's "50 Miles of DMZ on Water."

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