Koreas to close 22 border guard posts
Seoul, Oct. 26 (IANS): The two Koreas agreed on Friday to withdraw 11 border guard posts each by November as part of a bilateral military agreement, the South Korean Defence Ministry said.
The decision was adopted at a meeting in the Joint Security Area in the heart of the militarized border between the countries, which have been technically at war for over six decades as the Korean War in the 1950s had ended with an armistice and not a peace agreement.
The ministry said that the two Koreas will also withdraw personnel and equipment from the guard posts by the end of November. The removal of the guard posts would be a first step for the eventual elimination of all guard posts along the dividing line, Yonhap news agency reported.
The two countries also agreed to set up a joint team to study the possible re-opening of the Han River estuary (west of Seoul and adjoining the border with North) — which has been restricted owing to cross-border tensions — to civil navigation.
The two Koreas will also establish a joint commission in the future to monitor the implementation of the military agreement signed during the summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on September 19.
This year has seen relations between the two neighbours thaw considerably after a decade of tensions, owing to a hardline stand by conservative governments in Seoul, and Pyongyang’s refusal to abandon its nuclear and missile program.
The two countries had also removed landmines from around the JSA and Cheorwon, a South Korean border town, to ease tensions.