WORLD Koreas, UN Command agree to demilitarize part of border

WORLD

Koreas, UN Command agree to demilitarize part of border

AFP

20:41, October 22, 2018

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. 

Panmunjom_副本.jpg

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, the U.S.-led United Nations Command, left, South Korean, center, and North Korean, right, military officers attend a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP)

"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 frontier where troops from the two countries stand face to face.

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.

Moon has advocated engagement with the North to nudge it toward denuclearisation.

Monday's talks were the second meeting of a trilateral JSA commission made up of the two Koreas and the UN Command, which is included as it retains jurisdiction over the southern half of the JSA. 

Its chief, US general Vincent Brooks, told reporters in August that as UN commander he supported initiatives that could reduce military tensions.

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