SEOUL — The two Koreas and the United Nations Command (UNC) will launch trilateral consultations on Tuesday on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the heavily fortified border area, Seoul’s defence ministry announced.
The closed-door meeting is to open at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) at 10am, it said.
South and North Korea agreed to turn the JSA into a weapon-free zone under the military agreement signed by their defence 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.
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 the venue for talks between the two sides, including the first Moon-Kim summit in April.
On October 1, the two sides started a 20-day operation to remove landmines in the JSA.
Through the consultations at the three-way council, the Koreas and the UNC plan to review the results of the landmine removal operation and details of ways to implement the agreement to disarm the JSA, officials said.
Other measures to be taken include the pullout of troops and firearms from guard posts at the JSA and verification.
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, including five officers, with no firearms, there.
Korean people and foreign tourists will be allowed to cross the military demarcation line from 9am to 5pm.
"Concrete forms of implementation will be decided via discussions at the three-way council," the ministry said.
South Korea will be represented by Army Colonel Cho Yong-geun, and his North Korean counterpart will be Army Colonel Om Chang-nam.
The UNC’s delegation will be headed by US Army Colonel Burke Hamilton, the Military Armistice Committee secretary. — YONHAP