September 21, 2023

Long before Travis King, Panmunjom tours had a history of death and defections

Both North Korea and UN Command use tours to promote their version of history, but sometimes things don’t go to plan

Death, defection and all for a reasonable price: Panmunjom tours have been the subject of scrutiny since American soldier Travis King crossed into North Korea, but history shows that his daring dash into the DPRK was far from the first incident during a visit to the sensitive border area.

Visitors have been joining tours to the Joint Security Area (JSA) since just after the Korean War, and the number of people to go from each side has even been a point of pride in inter-Korean ideological competition.