Bridge of No Return 1

     Located in the Joint Security Area (JSA), the so-called "Bridge of No Return" crosses the Military Demarcation Line(MDL) between North Korea and South Korea. It was used for prisoner exchanges at the end of the Korean War in 1953. The name originates from the final ultimatum that was given to prisoners of war brought to the bridge for repatriation: they could either remain in the country of their captivity or cross the bridge to return to their homeland. However, once they chose to cross the bridge, they would never be allowed to return, even if they later changed their minds.

 

     The last time the bridge was used for prisoner exchanges was in 1968, when the crew of USS Pueblo was released and ordered to cross into South Korea via the bridge. The bridge was actively used by the North Koreans up until the Axe Murder Incident in August 1976, at which time the United Nations Command demanded that the Military Demarcation Line within the Joint Security Area be enforced and clearly marked. Within 72 hours, the North Koreans had built a new bridge (dubbed "The 72-Hour Bridge") on the northern half of the JSA and the original Bridge of No Return was no longer used.

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