Three-way talks begin on disarming the JSA
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.