April 26, 2018 09:48
North and South Korea will discuss a phased removal of guard posts in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas as well as disarming the remaining soldiers stationed in the border truce village.
The idea is part of efforts by South Korea to turn the DMZ from a symbol of division into a symbol of peace, according to government sources.
Under the armistice that halted the Korean War in 1953, North and South Korean soldiers in the DMZ are allowed to carry handguns and non-automatic rifles.
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who meet Friday, will also discuss opening a liaison office in the border truce village of Panmunjom staffed by workers from both sides, with regular meetings held there to discuss cross-border exchanges and military matters.
Moon will propose the gradual reduction of heavy weapons and troops in the DMZ, culminating in the withdrawal of guard posts. At present, North Korea has 160 and South Korea 60 guard posts.
The two Koreas are also considering the establishment of a military hotline.
But the two leaders will skirt the sensitive issue of the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border in the West Sea, which runs uncomfortably close to North Korea's coastline.
The South Korean government also hopes make summits between the two Koreas a regular fixture.
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