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North and South Korea agreed on Friday to ‘completely destroy’ by next month 22 guard posts near their heavily fortified border, the latest advance in talks in the neighbors’ effort to defuse military tension, Seoul’s defense ministry said, report agencies.
It follows a military pact at a summit last month in the North Korean capital that called for a halt to ‘all hostile acts’, a no-fly zone near the border and the gradual removal of guard posts, firearms and landmines from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two.
As an initial step, the neighbors agreed to demolish 11 guard posts within 1 km (0.6 mile) of each side of the border and withdraw equipment and personnel stationed there by the end of November, the ministry said.
“The measures will be finished through mutual verification in December,” it said in a statement.
The talks were led by South Korean Army Major General Kim Do-gyun and North Korean Lieutenant General An Ik San at the border village of Panmunjom within the DMZ.
Both sides also discussed reinstating a joint military commission and forming a combined team to survey watercourses in the Han River their commercial ships could share.
The two sides also completed the removal of guard posts and firearms within the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom on Thursday, the ministry said.
In another development, the South’s military said it would stage two military drills next week.
That came after an agreement last week by Seoul and Washington to halt the Vigilant Ace air defense drills planned for December so as to give nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea every opportunity to continue, the Pentagon has said. The allies delayed August’s major annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises.