The U.S.-led United Nations Command was holding a second round of talks with North and South Korea on Monday to discuss efforts to disarm a jointly patrolled border area, Seoul’s defense ministry said.
The meeting follows a mine-clearance operation in the area as part of a far-reaching military agreement between the Koreas.
The pact also calls for the two sides to remove weapons and guard posts from the truce village of Panmunjom, and replace them with 35 unarmed guards from each side.
On Thursday, the UNC, which is led by Gen. Vincent Brooks, “reviewed and verified the mine clearance work done to date” at the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom and supports next steps in implementing the inter-Korean agreement.
“UNC will continue to work closely with [South and North Korea] to synchronize implementation efforts on the way ahead,” Brooks said in a press release.
The two Koreas agreed in September to withdraw weapons and guard posts from Panmunjom and replace them with 35 unarmed guards from each side.
The UNC must sign off on many of the measures since it oversees the area, which is the heart of the heavily fortified frontier that has divided the peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.
Brooks, who also commands U.S. Forces Korea, called the first round of talks held on Oct. 16 “productive” and said the three sides would continue to discuss removing guard posts, reducing security personnel and adjusting surveillance equipment.
The trilateral talks were being led by military officers from the three sides on the South Korean side of Panmunjom.
“This meeting is aimed at checking and evaluating the status of demining operations at the JSA and consulting on schedules for withdrawing firearms and guard posts and adjusting guard personnel, as well as future plans for mutual verifications,” South Korea’s defense ministry said in a statement.
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