Visiting the DMZ: FOX31’s Jeremy Hubbard travels to North Korean border

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PANMUNJOM, South Korea -- It is an intimidating place -- guards, staring you down from the minute you enter the eerie room, where a conference table is the dividing line between two neighbors that are worlds apart.

Last month, FOX 31 anchor Jeremy Hubbard visited the demilitarized zone, or DMZ.  It's the most heavily fortified border in the world, separating North Korea and South Korea.

In one room along the military demarcation line, Hubbard even stepped inside North Korea.  Just walking a few feet inside the forbidden country was a hair-raising experience.

In that part of the Joint Security Area, there have been several deadly clashes over the years - including one in 1976 where two US Army officers were killed by ax-wielding guards from the North.  Also in this same location - a wild scene unfolded last November, when a North Korean guard was shot a half-dozen times by his countrymen - as he defected across the border.

When the leaders of North Korea and South Korea meet for their first historic summit in more than a decade Friday, they'll be meeting in this very same location.

All along the DMZ, you can hear propaganda music being piped in from North Korea... with songs extolling the virtues of their dictator, Kim Jong-Un.  And five miles off in the distance, tourists can see a place called Propaganda Village.  It's a fake town - almost completely unoccupied.  A ruse to convince visitors on the south side of the border that life is prosperous and great in North Korea.

And there are plenty of visitors.  More than a million every year.  These days, believe it or not, the DMZ is a tourist hot spot - complete with Instagram-friendly props.  The most watched international border on the planet, now selfie-central.  It's full of travelers, wondering if they're visiting at a pivotal time in history, and if this week's summit between the North Korean and South Korean leaders could help lead to a reunified Korea, after 73 years after they first separated.

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