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Korean transcription(s)
 • Hangul대성동
 • Hanja[1]臺城洞
 • Revised romanizationDaeseong-dong
 • McCune–ReischauerTaesŏng tong
Daeseong-dong Scene.jpg
Daeseong-dong is located in South Korea
Location in South Korea
Coordinates: 37°56′28″N 126°40′45″E / 37.941118°N 126.679144°E / 37.941118; 126.679144Coordinates: 37°56′28″N 126°40′45″E / 37.941118°N 126.679144°E / 37.941118; 126.679144
Country South Korea South Korea
ProvinceGyeonggi Province

Daeseong-dong (also called Tae Sung Dong, Jayu-ui Maeul and Daeseongdong-gil) is a village in South Korea close to the North Korean border. It lies within the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The village is about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) south of the Bridge of No Return, and 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city of Kaesong, North Korea. As of 2018, the village has 193 inhabitants.[2]


Daeseong-dong belongs administratively to Josan-ri, Gunnae-myeon, in Paju. It is the only civilian habitation within the southern portion of the DMZ.[3] Panmunjeom is 1 km (0.6 mi) to the northeast, and the actual Military Demarcation Line (the de facto border between South and North Korea) is only 350 meters (1,150 feet) west of the village. Only individuals who lived in the village before the Korean War, or are descendants of those who did, are allowed to move to the village.[4]

Daeseong-dong is only 1.6 km (1 mi) from Kijong-dong, a village in North Korea's portion of the DMZ. Here Korea's division is starkly apparent: rival national flags can be seen on gigantic flagpoles that have been erected in the two villages.[5]

While the southern half of the DMZ is under the administration of the United Nations Command, the residents of Daesong-dong are considered South Korean civilians, and subject to South Korean laws. These residents have some unique benefits and restrictions. For example, they have the same rights to vote and receive education, but are exempt from national defense duties and taxation. Residents are also allocated large plots of land and have some of the highest farming income in the nation. However, they are subject to limitations. The safety of the villagers is paramount, since North Korean soldiers can cross and have crossed the border.[6] Visitors invited to the village must apply for a military escort two weeks in advance.[7] There is a curfew and headcount at 23:00 local time.[5][4]


South Koreans harvest rice in the Demilitarized Zone of Korea, 1988.JPEG

Farming is the primary economic activity of the village, particularly bags of rice sold with a DMZ brand.[4]


In the 1980s, the South Korean government built a 98.4 m (323 ft) flagpole in Daeseong-dong, which flies a South Korean flag weighing 130 kilograms (287 pounds). In what some have called the "flagpole war", the North Korean government responded by building the 160 m (525 ft) Panmunjeom flagpole in Kijŏng-dong, only 1.2 km (0.7 mi) west of the border with South Korea. It flies a 270 kg (595 lb) flag of North Korea.[8][9]

Elementary school[edit]

The village also has a small elementary school, Daeseong-dong Elementary School. The school, once slated for closure due to the changing demographics of the village, in 2011 educated a total of thirty children from grades K-6, with a waiting list to get in due to the funding and attention it receives from the South Korean government.[7] As of 2017, only 10 of the students live in the village.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 각 지방 표정 Archived 2018-05-08 at the Wayback Machine, Munhwa Ilbo, June 13, 2000
  2. ^ a b 문화체육관광부 국민소통실 (2018-04-05). "DMZ내 하나뿐인 '대성동 자유의 마을' 가보니" (in Korean). 대한민국 정책브리핑. Archived from the original on 2020-05-06. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  3. ^ McCurry, Justin (July 21, 2010). "What is the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea?". guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Rich, Motok (April 20, 2017). "As North Korea Tensions Rise, Farming in the Demilitarized Zone Goes On". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Onishi, Norimitsu (3 August 2004). "Taesung Village Journal; In a DMZ That Bristles Less, the Villagers Are at Home". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  6. ^ SMITH, DONALD (28 August 1994). "DMZ Not All That Peaceful for S. Korea Village : Asia: North Korean jeeps and other military gear are an unnerving presence for farm families living along the heavily armed border". Archived from the original on 2018-02-15. Retrieved 2016-12-06 – via LA Times.
  7. ^ a b "School in DMZ's 'Freedom Village' becomes coveted learning spot for S. Koreans". Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  8. ^ "CNN.com – Korea's DMZ: 'Scariest place on Earth' – February 20, 2002". 2002-02-20. Archived from the original on 2020-04-22. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  9. ^ 개성에 '구멍탄' 5만장 배달했습니다. economy.ohmynews.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2006-12-06.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Media related to Daeseong-dong at Wikimedia Commons