BFF-38 North and South Korea begin destroying border guard posts

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North and South Korea begin destroying border guard posts

SEOUL, Nov 11, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The two Koreas began destroying 20 guard
posts along their heavily-fortified frontier Sunday under a plan to reduce
tensions on the border.

Under an agreement made between their generals in late October, North and
South Korea agreed to each remove 10 posts and preserve one on either side of
the frontier.

The militaries on Sunday began destroying the 20 border guard posts in the
Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas after withdrawing troops and
equipment from them, Yonhap news agency reported, citing Seoul’s defence
ministry.

South Korea has around 60 such posts along the rest of the border while
the North has about 160, Yonhap said.

The border truce village of Panmunjom — or the Joint Security Area (JSA)
— is the only spot along the tense, 250-kilometre (155-mile) frontier where
soldiers from the two Koreas and the US-led UN Command stand face to face.

But as part of the latest reconciliatory gesture, the two Koreas last
month removed all firearms and guard posts from the area, leaving it manned
by 35 unarmed personnel from each side.

The moves come as a diplomatic thaw between the former wartime foes
gathers pace.

Under doveish South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Seoul has pursued a
policy of engagement with its isolated, nuclear-armed neighbour, in contrast
with the US which insists pressure should be maintained on Pyongyang until it
denuclearises.

Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed on a broad plan to ease
tensions along the border during their third summit in Pyongyang in
September.

The two nations technically remain at war after the 1950-53 Korean War
that sealed the division of the peninsula and ended with a ceasefire instead
of a peace treaty.

But ties improved markedly this year as Moon and Kim took a series of
reconciliatory gestures.

Kim and US President Donald Trump also held a historic summit in June in
Singapore and signed a vaguely worded deal on denuclearisation, but little
progress has been made since then, with the two countries sparring over the
exact meaning of the agreement.

Planned talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of Kim’s
right-hand men, Kim Yong Chol, were also delayed this week.

BSS/AFP/SSS/1751 hrs