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At the The Korean Demilitarized Zone, a north Korean officer stands in front of a map of the divided Korean peninsula. The Korean Demilitarized Zone cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. The DMZ was the original boundary between the United States and Soviet brief administration areas of Korea at the end of World War II. Upon the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, informally North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, informally South Korea) in 1948, it became a de facto international border and one of the most tense fronts in the Cold War.