Thursday October 06, 2022

Koreas, UN Command agree to demilitarise part of border

October 23, 2018

SEOUL: The two Koreas and the US-led United Nations Command agreed Monday to demilitarise a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula by this week, as a diplomatic thaw gathers pace.

"The three parties agreed to carry out measures to withdraw firearms and guard posts at the Joint Security Area (JSA) by October 25," Seoul´s defence ministry said in a statement following trilateral talks. They will then conduct a "three-way joint verification" for the following two days, it added.

The JSA, also known as the truce village of Panmunjom, is the only spot along the tense, 250-kilometre (155-mile) frontier where troops from the two countries stand face to face. It was a designated neutral zone until the "axe murder incident" in 1976, when North Korean soldiers attacked a work party trying to chop down a tree inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), leaving two US army officers dead.

South and North Korea -- which are technically still at war -- agreed to take measures to ease military tensions on their border at a meeting in Pyongyang last month between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un.

Earlier this month, the two sides began removing landmines at the JSA -- which is now often used for talks between the two Koreas, as part of the deal, which was confirmed "complete" at Monday´s talks. The September summit was the third this year between the leaders as a remarkable rapprochement takes hold on the peninsula.