SEOUL : The two Koreas were removing the last remaining firearms and guard posts on Thursday  from a Cold War era truce village where armed soldiers have stared each other down for decades, Seoul's defence ministry said.

The Joint Security Area - also known as the truce village of Panmunjom historically been both a  flashpoint and a key location for diplomacy between the two Koreas ever since their split in 1953.

It is the only spot along the tense, 250 kilometers frontier where soldiers from North Korea and the  US-led United Nations Command stand face-to-face.

This Friday, all guards will be disarmed, ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-sou said, part of a recent diplomatic thaw between the two foes that has gathered pace.

''I am aware that it is going according to plan,'' Choi told reporters.

Panmunjom was where the armistice that ended the bitter Korean war was signed.

It was a designated neutral zone until the ''axe murder incident'' in 1976, when North Korean soldiers attacked a work party trying to chop down a tree inside the Demilitarised Zone [DMS], leaving two US army officers dead.

Once demilitarised, the JSA will be guarded by 35 unarmed personnel from each side and ''freedom of movement'' will be allowed for visitors and tourists, according to a military pact signed between the two Koreas last month.

South and North Korea - which are technically still at war - agreed to take measures to ease military tensions on their border at a meeting in Pyongyang last month between  President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un.

The two sides finished removing landmines at JSA - which has been increasingly used for talks between the two Koreas - last week as part of the deal. [AFP]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!