August 22, 2018 12:26
South Korea will vacate about a dozen guard posts in the demilitarized zone on a trial basis under a reciprocal agreement with North Korea, Defense Minister Song Young-moo told the National Assembly Defense Committee on Tuesday.
The agreement came in cross-border talks between generals in the truce village of Panmunjom on July 31, according to the Defense Ministry.
The DMZ is a 4 km-wide buffer zone with the military demarcation line in the middle. Permanent stationing of troops here is prohibited, but the two Koreas have built guard posts and stationed platoon-size contingents of soldiers there. At one point the two sides' guard posts stand only 700 m apart.
"The two sides will vacate any guard posts that stand less than 1 km apart from each other first," Song said. Song insisted the withdrawal will be reciprocal, adding, "The two sides can confirm each other's withdrawal."
Ahn Gyu-back, the committee chairman, stressed the need to ensure that the withdrawal is really proportional since the two sides have different numbers of guard posts and soldiers at the frontline.
The North has 160 and the South fewer than 60.
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