U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio faced North Korean troops during a visit to the de-militarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea.
It was one of the more bizarre scenes to take place during Rubio’s official trip to the Asia-Pacific region. As he toured the DMZ, North Korean troops, only a few feet away on the other side of a window, snapped photos of the Florida Senator.
“There are few places in the world where the stark differences between two neighboring countries is as evident as the line that divides the Korean peninsula,” Rubio said Thursday. “As one soldier patrolling the DMZ told us, it is the edge of freedom.”
The DMZ remains a reminder of both the success and incomplete nature of the United Nations armistice agreement signed by North Korea and China on July 27, 1953. The deal ended what President Harry Truman called a three-year “police action,” becoming something short of a peaceful settlement. Both countries are still technically at war.
“I believe some day in my lifetime that edge will no longer exist and North Korea’s people will live freely,” Rubio added. “Coming face to face with agents of a repressive and paranoid communist regime was a reminder to me of how important it is that we not only stand with our South Korean allies but also remember the innocents in North Korea whose lives are being destroyed.”
Rubio is the highest-ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
During this weeklong trip, Rubio’s first visit to the Korean Peninsula since elected to Congress, the Senator also toured Japan and the Philippines, where he stopped at the city of Tacloban to learn about ongoing recovery efforts after Typhoon Haiyan.
Rubio later visited South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and will deliver a speech to Korea’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul on Friday.
Regular updates on activities throughout the trip can be found on Rubio’s personal Twitter account @MarcoRubio, as well as posted photos and information on his website.
Photos courtesy of Sen. Marco Rubio: