TAESUNG FREEDOM VILLAGE, South Korea — For decades, a village of 188 people has enjoyed perks that few others in South Korea have, with its men exempted from mandatory military service and its 46 households getting special tax cuts.
These are the rewards for carving out a life in what has been called the scariest place on Earth.
Taesung Freedom Village is the only place inhabited by South Korean civilians inside the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone that separates the South from North Korea.
In recent weeks, villagers have been given another reward: South Korea’s main mobile phone carrier, KT Corp., has installed a fifth-generation, or 5G, ultrafast communications network, one of the first such systems installed for any South Korean town.
“This is more useful than my own children, who all live outside,” said Go Geum-sik, 73. “Outside” is how villagers refer to the world beyond their constricted boundaries.