Defense Ministry says UNC is on same page

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Defense Ministry says UNC is on same page

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that it had no major differences with the UN Command (UNC) over the military part of the recent inter-Korean summit agreement aimed at reducing tensions and preventing accidental clashes.

Speculation has continued that the UNC, the enforcer of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, is uncomfortable with the fast pace of the inter-Korean peace drive, given that there has been no tangible progress toward Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

The speculation was further reinforced after Gen. Robert Abrams, the nominee for UNC commander, told a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that “all activities” regarding the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) are “under the purview of the UNC.”

The inter-Korean military agreement includes pulling out some guard posts in the DMZ on a trial basis and disarming the Joint Security Area in the buffer zone, all of which are part of conventional arms control efforts to buttress cross-border rapprochement.

“As we said earlier, we have had close consultations with the UNC over the signing of the military agreement, including the withdrawal of guard posts,” Choi Hyun-soo, the ministry’s spokeswoman, told reporters.

Choi also said that, during his meeting with new South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo earlier this week, Deputy UNC Commander Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre voiced his support for the military agreement between the two Koreas.

During his confirmation hearing, Gen. Abrams clearly stated the role of the UNC.

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