Demilitarized zone

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"DMZ" redirects here. For other uses, see DMZ (disambiguation).

A demilitarized zone, DMZ or DZ[1] is an area in which treaties or agreements between nations, military powers or contending groups forbid military installations, activities or personnel. A DMZ often lies along an established frontier or boundary between two or more military powers or alliances. A DMZ may sometimes form a de facto international border—for example, the 38th parallel between North and South Korea. Other examples of demilitarized zones are a 120-mile (190 km) area between Iraq and Kuwait, Antarctica (preserved for scientific exploration and study) and outer space (space more than 100 miles (160 km) from the earth's surface).

Many demilitarized zones are considered neutral territory because neither side is allowed to control it, even for non-combat administration. Some zones remain demilitarized after an agreement has awarded control to a state which (under the DMZ terms) had originally ceded its right to maintain military forces in the disputed territory. It is also possible for powers to agree on the demilitarization of a zone without formally settling their respective territorial claims, enabling the dispute to be resolved by peaceful means such as diplomatic dialogue or an international court.

Several demilitarized zones have also unintentionally become wildlife preserves because their land is unsafe for construction or less exposed to human disturbances (including hunting). Examples include the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone, and the Green Line in Cyprus.

Current demilitarized zones[edit]

Former demilitarized zones[edit]

Old map of the Gibraltar peninsula
Historical map of the promontory of Gibraltar.
  • A neutral territory was established between the British territory of Gibraltar and Spain after the end of the 1727 siege. A strip of land 600 toises (about 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi)) long,[citation needed] more than two cannon shots' distance between the British and Spanish guns, was called "the neutral ground" and shown as such on older maps. In 1908, the British built a fence in a portion claimed to be the British half of the neutral territory. Spain does not recognize British sovereignty over the isthmus (including the border), asserting it is Spanish soil. Although both the United Kingdom and Spain are part of the European Union, the border is now a de facto international frontier with customs and immigration checks; Spain does not formally recognize it as a "frontier", referring to it as a "fence". Whatever its name, Gibraltar opted out of the European Union Customs Union and is not part of the Schengen Area; the border is open 24 hours a day, with customs duties payable on designated goods entering Spain or Gibraltar.
  • The German Rhineland was made a demilitarized zone after World War I by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. It was re-occupied and re-militarized in 1936 by Nazi Germany, in violation of international treaties.
  • Saudi–Iraqi neutral zone, established in 1922 and partitioned in 1991
  • Saudi–Kuwaiti neutral zone, established in 1922 and partitioned by mutual agreement in 1970
  • Israel and Egypt:
  • Israel and Jordan:
    • The Israeli enclave and Jordanian area on Mt. Scopus was designated as a DMZ.
    • The area around the Latrun salient
  • Israel and Syria: Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, three DMZs were created by the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and Syria.[8]
  • China: Japanese forces conquered Manchuria between September 1931 and February 1932, when they proclaimed the region the state of Manchukuo. In May 1933 the Tanggu Truce between China and Japan was concluded, establishing a demilitarized zone between Manchukuo and China. In 1945 after the fall of the Japanese empire, Manchuria was re-incorporated into China.
  • Vietnam: The demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam was established in April 1954 as a result of the Geneva Conference ending the war between the Viet Minh and the French. The DMZ in Vietnam officially lay at the 17th parallel; in reality, it extended about a mile on either side of the Bến Hải River and west to east from the Lao border to the South China Sea.
  • Norway and Sweden established a demilitarized zone of one kilometer on each side of their border after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. The zone was abolished by mutual agreement in 1993.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oren, Michael (June 3, 2003). Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Presidio Press. p. 7. ISBN 0345461924. 
  2. ^ Treaty of Lausanne, art. 13
  3. ^ Antarctic Treaty (1959), art. 1
  4. ^ Korean Armistice Agreement (1953), art. 1
  5. ^ Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand) (2011). International Court of Justice.
  6. ^ "Sudan agrees demilitarised zone for north-south border". BBC. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Amir Ahmed and Greg Botelho (9 March 2013). "Sudan, South Sudan agree to pull troops from demilitarized zone". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  8. ^ map

External links[edit]