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Three-way talks begin on disarming the JSA

Oct 17,2018
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The two Koreas and the United Nations Command (UNC) hold trilateral consultations Tuesday on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom. In the closed-door consultations, the Koreas and the UNC reviewed the results of a landmine removal operation. [MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE]
The two Koreas and the United Nations Command (UNC) held their first trilateral consultations Tuesday on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the heavily fortified border area, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.

The closed-door meeting took place at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from 10 a.m. through 1:15 p.m., it said.

South and North Korea agreed to turn the JSA into a weapon-free zone in a military agreement signed by their defense chiefs during the Pyongyang summit in September between President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader Kim Jong-un.

The UNC has jurisdiction over the JSA, where South and North Korean forces stand face-to-face.

“We held working-level consultations over measures to be taken for [JSA] disarmament, such as withdrawing firearms and guard posts, reducing guard personnel and readjusting monitoring equipment,” the ministry said in a press release.

“[We] have decided to proceed with plans for disarmament measures and mutual verification procedures through the trilateral consultation body,” it added.

The JSA was established just after the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. It has also served as a venue for talks between the two sides, including the first Moon-Kim summit in April.

On Oct. 1, the two sides started a 20-day operation to remove landmines in the JSA.

The South and the North plan to withdraw four and five guard posts, respectively, from the JSA. Each side will station a patrol of 35 soldiers there, including five officers, with no firearms.

Korean people and foreign tourists will be allowed to cross the military demarcation line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At Tuesday’s talks, South Korea was represented by Army Col. Cho Yong-geun, and his North Korean counterpart was Army Col. Om Chang-nam. The UNC’s delegation was headed by U.S. Army Col. Burke Hamilton, the Military Armistice Committee secretary.

Yonhap