Daecheongdo is a small island controlled by South Korea. The island is only 4.88 square miles, but it serves as a strategic and important military point because it lies near the Northern Limit Line and serves as a line between North and South Korea in The Yellow Sea.
As many as 10,000 people lived on the island during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945, but only about 1,500 permanently live on the island now and mainly make a living from tourism and fishing.
When the Japanese lost to the Allies in World War II, Russia and the United States agreed to maintain control until Koreans held elections and formed a government. Temporary control was split north and south of the 38th parallel, and Daecheongdo became a strategic point during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
The Korean Armistice Agreement was eventually declared the end of the Korean War, and Daecheongdo along with four other islands along the maritime border remained in control of South Korea and the United Nations.
Daecheongdo still serves as a strategic military point because North Korea is a communist state. Kim Jong –il increased tensions with the United States after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon underground in October of 2006, and tensions remain high even after Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, took office.
Daecheongdo remains a popular tourist area, and the area attracts a large number of hikers. Korea warns hikers that they should not stray from hiking paths because minefields are still active in certain vegetated areas. Camping and fires are strictly prohibited on Daecheongdo, and the state recommends trails along the following areas to ensure safety:
· from Seojinpo Port to Jiduri Beach, Seonaedong, Dongdaedong, and Gojudong
· from Satandong to Gangnado Pavilion, Dokbawi Rock, and Gireumagari Cliffs
· from Satandong to Samgaksan Mountain and Seonaedong