North and South Korea met in the truce village of Panmunjom — these extraordinary photos show what it's like

For the first time in more than two years, delegations from North and South Korea have met for official talks.

Their meeting place was "truce village" Panmunjom, the site of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953.

Since then, Panmunjom has become the only part of the demilitarized zone where North and South Korean soldiers face one another every day, and where foreign dignitaries come to peer into North Korea for themselves.

But life in Panmunjom and surrounding villages is remarkably ordinary. Shops exist, kids attend schools and farmers toil the fields — though much of this is done with a backdrop of high tensions and a military presence.

There's also a thriving tourist scene. According to PRI, visitors must sign a form that says they understand their visits “will entail entry into a hostile area and the possibility of injury or death."

Click to take the tour for yourself:

30 PHOTOS
North Korea and South Korea's truce village of Panmunjom
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North Korea and South Korea's truce village of Panmunjom

'Peace House' sits on the South Korean side of the truce village Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This is where talks between North and South took place on January 9.

 (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

The six blue and white buildings straddle the demarcation line and are jointly used conference rooms.

REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak 

Over the years, many photos have captured North Korean soldiers looking into these rooms when they're in use by South Korea.

 (Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun-pool/Getty Images)

On several occasions, North Koreans took photos of the rooms through the windows while they were in use.

 (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Minutes from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commissions meetings are placed in a mailbox marked KPA (Korean People's Army) in a conference room.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

These are the tables where the Korean War armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953 in Panmunjom.

 ( ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Outside, North Korean workers are employed to sweep the North's compound.

(KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

They are also hired to tend the North's lawn.

REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak 

Trees line the 'Bridge of No Return' where prisoners of war were able to choose between the North and South by walking either direction after the 1953 agreement.

 (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

North Korean soldiers walk past a propaganda painting in Panmunjom.

 (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearby, South Koreans watch an announcement of a North Korean missile launch on TV inside a store.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

 While students study under a heavy military presence.

 (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

In Daeseong-dong, the only village where citizens can reside in the DMZ, soldiers regularly attend school graduations.

 (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Panmunjom can be reached by train. This is the entrance to Dorasan train station, the northernmost stop on South Korea's railway.

(Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

While civilian trains don't run to Pyongyang, cross-border trade occurred for a brief time around 2007, and the signs remain.

(Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Groups of tourists are allowed into the heavily guarded conference rooms which sit across the Korean border, allowing people to technically enter North Korea.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

They can pose in front of a giant picture of the DMZ border.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Or take photos of the real thing.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

CCTV shows footage of the third infiltration tunnel, one of four tunnels built by North Korea to send troops quickly and quietly into South Korea. Tourists now visit these.

(Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

An observation platform lets tourists and foreign dignitaries look into North Korea.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

What they see is North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong.

 (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Workers can also be seen in North Korean fields.

 (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

DMZ souvenirs are available for purchase.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

And a few kilometers away, a South Korean souvenir shop sells North Korean beer.

 (RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

It also sells locally produced soy beans. The region is inhabited by a few hundred farmers who grow ginseng, rice, and soy beans.

 (RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Camp Bonifas is also near Panmunjom. In this 2003 photo, US soldiers watch President George W. Bush's state of the union address.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Also near Panmunjom is the Imjingak Peace Park.

 (Truth LEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

People regularly leave messages of peace and unity on ribbons at a DMZ fence.

 (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Back in Panmunjom, North Korean soldiers directly face South Koreans. This is next to the spot where a North Korean soldier defected across the border in November.

 (Photo by Korea Pool/Getty Images)

North and South Korea spoke on a dedicated phone line at the border village of Panmunjom on January 3, 2018.

 (Photo by South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images)

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