Curfews, guards a way of life in DMZ village

Ahead of Friday's high-stakes summit, residents of Freedom Village feel hopeful

The 194 residents of Daeseong-dong, or Freedom Village, go about their lives under the watchful eye of armed guards. To leave and re-enter their town, they must travel through a road flanked by anti-tank barricades and fields of explosives.
A Grade 3 class at Daeseong-dong Elementary School, which has 35 pupils, some of whom come from the neighbouring town of Munsan. Teenagers must attend school outside the village because there is no middle or high school. A view from the rooftop of Da
A Grade 3 class at Daeseong-dong Elementary School, which has 35 pupils, some of whom come from the neighbouring town of Munsan. Teenagers must attend school outside the village because there is no middle or high school. ST PHOTOS: WALTER SIM
A Grade 3 class at Daeseong-dong Elementary School, which has 35 pupils, some of whom come from the neighbouring town of Munsan. Teenagers must attend school outside the village because there is no middle or high school. A view from the rooftop of Da
A view from the rooftop of Daeseong-dong City Hall looking across to its twin village, Kijong-dong - derisively known as Propaganda Village - located on the other side of the demilitarised zone.

For the 194 residents of Daeseong-dong, or Freedom Village, freedom exists only in so far as it can be protected by armed guards.

To leave and re-enter their town - the only civilian habitation on the south side of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) - they must travel through a road flanked by anti-tank barricades, as well as fields of live explosives.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Curfews, guards a way of life in DMZ village'. Subscribe