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Korean War: Panmunjom - Bridge of No Return 00:13
Located in the Joint Security Area (JSA), the so-called "Bridge of No Return" crosses the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) between North Korea and South Korea. It was used for prisoner exchanges at the end of the Korean War in 1953. The name originates from the claim that many POWs captured by the United States did not wish to return home. The prisoners were brought to the bridge and given the choice to remain in the country of their captivity or cross over to the other country. But if they chose to cross the bridge, they would never be allowed to return. The last time the bridge was used for prisoner exchanges was in 1968 when the crew of the USS Pueblo was released and ordered to cross into South Korea via the bridge. The bridge was actively used by the North Koreans up until the Axe Murder Incident in August 1976, at which time the United Nations Command demanded that the Military Demarcation Line within the Joint Security Area be enforced and clearly marked. Within 72 hours the North Koreans had built a new bridge on the northern half of the JSA and the Bridge of No Return was no longer used. The Military Demarcation Line runs through the middle of the bridge. At the end of either side of the bridge are guard houses of the respective countries. The North Korean building is called KPA#4 while the United Nations Command (UNC) checkpoint was called CP#3 (it was abandoned in the mid-1980s). CP#3, which is surrounded by trees, was only visible from one other UNC site during the summer months, OP#5 (now renamed to CP#3). The North's Korean People's Army (KPA) had made numerous attempts to grab UNC personnel from the old CP#3 and drag them across the bridge into North Korean territory. Because of this proximity to North Korean territory, being surrounded on all access routes by North Korean checkpoints, and repeated attempts to kidnap the UNC personnel working there, CP#3 was often referred to as "The Loneliest Outpost in the World". As of 2003, the bridge is considered in need of repair. According to a report on CNN, the US government has offered to fix the bridge or even replace it, but North Korea has denied permission.[1] The bridge is also portrayed in the beginning of the James Bond film, Die Another Day, where Bond and Zao are swapped (however, as the photos show, there are no rows of concertina wire, bunkers, machine guns, or spotlights anywhere around the bridge, as depicted in the movie). It was also portrayed in the South Korean movie Joint Security Area, where the shooting of two North Korean guards becomes the focus of an investigation and of the movie. The Korean War (1950–armistice, 1953)[28] was a military conflict between the Republic of Korea, supported by the United Nations, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which was supported by People's Republic of China (PRC), and with air support from the Soviet Union. The war began on 25 June 1950 and an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. The war was a result of the political division of Korea by agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War. The Korean peninsula had been ruled by Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II. In 1945, following the surrender of Japan, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th Parallel, with United States troops occupying the southern part and Soviet troops occupying the northern part.[29] The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides, and the North established a Communist government. The 38th Parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Koreas. Although reunification negotiations continued in the months preceding the war, tension intensified. Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel persisted. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.[30] It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War.[31] The United Nations, particularly the United States, came to the aid of South Korea in repelling the invasion. A rapid UN counter-offensive drove the North Koreans past the 38th Parallel and almost to the Yalu River, causing the People's Republic of China (PRC) to enter the war on the side of the North.[30] The Chinese launched a counter-offensive that repelled the United Nations forces past the 38th Parallel. The Soviet Union materially aided both the North Korean and Chinese armies. In 1953, the war ceased with an armistice that restored the border between the Koreas near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) wide buffer zone between the two Koreas. Minor outbreaks of fighting continue to the present day. With both North and South Korea sponsored by external powers, the Korean War was a proxy war. From a military science perspective, it combined strategies and tactics of World War I and World War II: it began with a mobile campaign of swift infantry attacks followed by air bombing raids, but became a static trench war by July 1951.
Recorded: 1950s Event time: 1950s Location: Korea Number of clips: 54
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