October 29, 2018 12:09
North and South Korea are set to open the Joint Security Area in the border village of Panmunjom to civilians and tourists as the area is now disarmed.
The Defense Ministry here said Sunday that the two Koreas and the UN Command completed the joint verification of disarmament in the JSA and confirmed faithful implementation on Saturday.
The two sides began demining operations on Oct. 1 and ended on Oct. 20. They also closed nine guard posts -- four on the South side and five on the North side -- and removed firearms through last week.
Soldiers from both sides started standing guard unarmed on Friday.
They will now have follow-up discussions on new guard posts and surveillance equipment as soldiers are unarmed. No more than 35 soldiers from each side will stay in the JSA, according to a military agreement signed during the inter-Korean summit in September.
From as early as November, civilians will also be allowed to visit the JSA and move freely between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
But some restrictions can be imposed for the time being as the two sides need to discuss ways to prevent possible incidents where civilian visitors might defect to the other side while in the JSA.
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