The Axe Murder Incident at Panmunjeom

Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation

Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation

On August 18, 1976, North Korean guards armed with axes attacked a UN Command work party which was pruning a large cottonwood tree in the JSA at Panmunjeom. During the fight, two UN soldiers were killed and nine were wounded. Immediately after the incident, tensions between the two Koreas skyrocketed, and three days later, on August 21, the UN Command mobilized 100 soldiers of the South Korea-U.S. quick reaction force, who removed the problematic cottonwood under air cover provided by a combat plane. The crisis was finally resolved during the Military Armistice Commission’s meeting held on the same day when a North Korean representative read a statement to the effect that the North would not allow any further incidents of this nature to occur.

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  • Title: The Axe Murder Incident at Panmunjeom
  • Provenance: http://www.ehistory.go.kr