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From South Korea, a special gift: Barbed wire from the DMZ

By HWANG HAE-RYM AND TERI WEAVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 22, 2005

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — For the third straight year, U.S. Forces Korea servicemembers can celebrate Christmas with their own little piece of the Demilitarized Zone.

Late last week, Korean officials delivered 36,000 pieces of barbed wire from the DMZ to USFK, according to the Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. The wire is a framed keepsake, and it’s the last year the ministry will make it their annual holiday gift, according to USFK’s community relations office.

Park Yu-chul, the minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, also brought $10,000 to donate for teaching materials for on-base classes taught by the universities of Maryland and Central Texas.

At Friday’s gift presentation ceremony, Park said: “More efforts should be made to keep solid and future-oriented relations between Korea and the U.S. based on trust and friendship built over the last several decades,” according to the ministry’s Web site.

The ministry gave the wire because a survey of U.S. servicemembers showed that they most wanted a piece of the DMZ as a keepsake from South Korea, according to Chang Jung-ok of the ministry.

To fulfill the order this year, a factory in Paju city had to produce extra souvenirs this season, Chang said. The framed wire typically sells for about 12,000 won, or about $12.

The wire used in the souvenirs comes from fences at the DMZ that have been replaced or upgraded. The DMZ is the 2½-mile wide border that separates North and South Korea.


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