Life in South Korea

RICK: TRUMP’S NEXT STOP TOOK HIM TO SOUTH KOREA. THE PENINSULA COUNTRY IS NEIGHBORS WITH NORTH KOREA. YOU MIGHT THINK NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA – ARE LIKE NORTH AND SOUTH DAKOTA, BUT THESE TWO ARE SEPARATE COUNTRIES… THAT ARE NOT ON FRIENDLY TERMS WITH EACH OTHER.

NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA WERE UNITED, UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR II IN 1945.

THAT’S WHEN THEY WERE SPLIT ALONG THE 38TH PARALLEL. THE SOUTH TEAMED UP WITH THE U-S, TO BECOME A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY. BUT THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA TOOK THE NORTH AS A COMMUNIST COUNTRY. THEIR DICTATOR - KIM JONG-UN - KEEPS THE NORTH VERY PRIVATE, AND ISOLATED FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD – THOUGH RECENTLY HE’S BEEN FLEXING THEIR MILITARY POWER.

THE BORDER BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH IS A DEMILITARIZED ZONE. A DEMILITARIZED ZONE IS AN AREA WHERE BOTH SIDES HAVE AGREED TO KEEP THEIR MILITARY AWAY. IT MIGHT NOT BE THE KIND

OF BORDER THAT YOU’D THINK THOUGH – IT ISN’T LIKE THE BORDER WALL PROTOTYPES BETWEEN THE US AND MEXICO THAT WE’VE MENTIONED IN THE PAST. OR LIKE THE BIG CEMENT BERLIN WALL THAT WE DISCUSSED LAST WEEK.

THERE ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE LIVING IN THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE.

PAULA HANCOCKS GOT RARE ACCESS, TO CHECK IT OUT.

PAULA: ART CLASS IN THE LOCAL VILLAGE SCHOOL. TODAY IT'S ALL ABOUT MAKING FELT BAGS - THIS SCENE COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD - IT JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE ON NORTH KOREA'S DOORSTEP.

TAESUNG IS THE ONLY SOUTH KOREAN VILLAGE WITHIN THE DMZ - THE DEMILITARISED ZONE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA.

PAULA HANCOCKS, DMZ: "NORTH KOREA IS JUST ABOUT 500 METERS AWAY FROM THIS VILLAGE AT ITS CLOSEST POINT, SO RESIDENTS HERE REALLY DO FEEL ANY THE INCREASE IN TENSIONS FAR MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. ANOTHER THING THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH - 24 HOURS A DAY SOME OF THE RESIDENTS ARE TELLING ME IS THIS PROPAGANDA BROADCAST COMING FROM NORTH KOREA".

ALL OF THE HOUSES HERE I'M TOLD HAVE SPECIAL SOUND PROOFING, VERY THICK WALLS TO GIVE THEM SOME KIND OF RESPITE FROM THE 24/7 BROADCASTS

197 PEOPLE LIVE IN TAESUNG, ALSO KNOWN AS FREEDOM VILLAGE, MOSTLY FARMERS WHO NEED A SOUTH KOREAN MILITARY ESCORT EVERY TIME THEY GO TO THEIR FIELDS - ONE STEP TOO FAR AND THEY'RE IN THE NORTH.

VERY FEW RESIDENTS WANT TO TALK ON CAMERA - SAYING THE SITUATION IS TOO TENSE.

ONLY RESIDENTS ARE ALLOWED IN - CHECKPOINTS AND A NIGHTLY CURFEW OF MIDNIGHT --- PART OF THE DAILY ROUTINE.

THE PROPAGANDA WAR BETWEEN THE TWO KOREAS IS NOT SUBTLE HERE - EACH SIDE INCREASING THE SIZE OF THEIR FLAGPOLES OVER THE YEARS - NORTH KOREA'S CURRENTLY IN THE LEAD WITH A POLE OF 165 METERS.

THERE HAVE BEEN TWO ABDUCTIONS OF TAESUNG RESIDENTS BY NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS OVER PAST DECADES - BUT NO-ONE IS THINKING OF LEAVING - AMIDST THE SOLDIERS, THE MINES, THE INCESSANT PROPAGANDA MUSIC... THIS IS STILL HOME.

RICK: THANKS PAULA. NOW TRUMP DID ATTEMPT TO VISIT THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE DURING HIS TRIP, BUT THE WEATHER GOT IN THE WAY. HE STILL KEPT BUSY IN SOUTH KOREA THOUGH. HE PROMISED TO WORK TOGETHER, TO DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA.

TRUMP: “AS TRUE PARTNERS WE HAVE REMAINED FAITHFUL FRIENDS THROUGH PERIODS OF CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY AND THAT’S WHAT WE HAVE NOW, GREAT OPPORTUNITY. WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER IN THE YEARS AHEAD.”

RICK: TRUMP AND HIS WIFE MELANIA PARTICIPATED IN A WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY AT THE NATIONAL CEMETERY IN SEOUL, THE COUNTRY’S CAPITAL.

AND MELANIA SPENT TIME WITH THE KIDS IN SOUTH KOREA. SHE KICKED OFF AN INITIATIVE THERE ENCOURAGING GIRLS TO PLAY SPORTS.

MELANIA TRUMP: "WHEN CHILDREN PLAY SPORTS THEY LEARN ABOUT TEAMWORK, DEDICATION, DISCIPLINE AND HOW TO SUCCEED UNDER PRESSURE. WHEN WE ENSURE BOYS AND GIRLS HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO SPORTS, WE ARE ENSURING THEY HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE TO GAIN THESE VALUABLE SKILLS."

Find Out More

Website Article: Time for Kids, TFK Explains North Korea

Video: PBS LearningMedia, Wide Angle, Field Trip to the DMZ | True story of teenage girl who escaped North Korea

Magazine Article: INFOhio, Explora, Junior Scholastic, North Korea Vs. The World, February 2017 | May need password

Support Provided By

More Wcpn Schedule
More Wclv Schedule
Schedule
Donate
90.3 WCPN
WCLV Classical 104.9
NPR Hourly Newscast
The Latest News and Headlines from NPR
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.