Two Koreas, United Nations Command hold talks on disarming border area

The two Koreas and the U.S.-led United Nations Command held talks Tuesday on disarming a jointly patrolled area in the heavily fortified border that divides the peninsula.

North and South Korea agreed to turn the Joint Security Area in the truce village of Panmunjom into a weapons-free zone as a key point in a wide-ranging military pact last month.

But the southern side of the JSA is overseen by the UNC, which is led by the top U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Vincent Brooks.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the trilateral meeting was being held in Panmunjom to review measures to implement the military agreement, which also included the removal of some guard posts and land mines.

The UNC confirmed the meeting but did not immediately provide details.

The two Koreas already have begun a land mine clearance operation in the Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5 mile-wide, 155-mile long buffer zone that includes the JSA.

The inter-Korean military agreement has raised concern that South Korea is moving too fast in embracing the North despite a lack of progress in parallel talks aimed at ridding the communist state of its nuclear weapons.

Gen. Robert Abrams, who has been cleared to take the helm of the UNC as well as U.S. Forces Korea and the Combined Forces Command, noted efforts to demilitarize the frontier would need UNC approval.

“All of that would have to be brokered, adjudicated, observed and enforced by the UN Command,” Abrams said during his Senate confirmation hearing.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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