When was the last time the blue buildings at the DMZ in Korea were painted?

With all there is to worry about regarding North Korea, the one thing that I can’t seem to get my brain around is this: Whenever I see a news clip of those blue buildings in the Joint Security area in the DMZ in Korea, I can’t help but notice how the blue paint seems so fresh and clean. I want to know when those buildings were last painted. They had to have been painted at least a few times since the ax incident in 1976. If so how did they coordinate such a job? I can’t imagine that the DPRK and ROK could possibly cooperate on it, and yet there is no obvious break in the paint at the border. This question has been bugging me for years, and I feel it would be worthwhile to investigate.

(First time post–please forgive if this question has been asked before–i could not find any similar question in any search results).

Thank you.

From here.

I have visited both from the North and the South. The tours from the North are much less restricted and you are more free to move around. The USO tours from the South restrict what you can wear (dress nice since nobody in the wealthy West wears shabby clothes) and ask you not to point, make gestures etc.

While there are never two groups from opposite sides in the blue buildings at once, when we visited from the North, a group from the South was just beyond the blue buildings in front of the large, modern building being lectured by US troops. Tours from the South have also said that the big building on the North side is only 3’ thick and is essentially fake. I’ve been in that building and it is a normal, real building.

Thank you, that was an interesting and informative article. And yet my original question still remains–Im talking about the exterior blue paint. You can see in the photos that the outside of the building has been painted blue, and that the blue paint extends on both sides of the border. If no one can cross the border at that location, how was the painting done?

Or is the answer that in fact the exteriors of the blue buildings have NOT been painted since 1976? That just doesn’t seem right considering the paint looks fresher than 42 years old.

Before 1976 I believe there was some freedom of movement allowed around the buildings.

That’s a good question, and I haven’t found an answer after about 30 minutes of internet sleuthing. It does look like the buildings were last renovated in 2009.

I was there (from both sides) in August 2009 and they certainly looked newly painted then. I would imagine that if the South paints them, they just rope off one building and it is closely guarded by both sides during the painting.

Someone’s missing a marketing opportunity. “When painting a building requires delicate international negotiations and can therefore only be done on rare occasions, you need paint that lasts. That’s why only [XYZ] paint is used on the buildings in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.”

This is a comment from The Joint Security Area & Meeting Rooms – The Rambling Wombat and is the likely answer. I’m sure painting-day must have been a well-orchestrated and closely watched event!

You are correct prior to the The Axe Murder Incident in 1976 there was freedom of movement in the area. It was then that the Joint Security Area was divided in two by the Military Demarcation Line which runs through the centre of the blue buildings referred to. The link above provides more detail that I pulled together on my blog on the Axe Murder Incident and the JSA more generally. Thank you to those who have already referred to my blog in this thread.

As indicated there is a special agreement in place to permit South Korea to maintain the blue buildings with the JSA and the North to maintain the white ones.