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North Korea Demolishes Guard Posts to Ease Tensions
November 20, 2018
On November 20, the government of North Korea delivered on its promise to blow up a number of its guard posts on the front line of the North-South Korea border.
North Korean guards standing watch in their country's part of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Photo taken in 2008 but the scene has not changed much since then. Photo: (stephan), CC
The action comes from an agreement made two months ago between both Koreas’ militaries.
In September, the two sides met in Pyongyang to discuss further steps to lower stresses between the countries. One of the steps they agreed on was a pledge to take down all guard posts within the 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) wide Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) across its entire stretch of 248 kilometers (155 miles).
For North Korea, the next step was to pull both weapons and military personnel from 11 of those guard posts. They also agreed to take down 10 of those guard posts completely before the end of November.
On November 20, the country delivered on that promise. With hammers followed by explosives and excavation equipment, the country’s military quickly eliminated the guard posts.
South Korea, who had been informed in advance of the destruction, confirmed North Korea had delivered on its promise. North Korea also provided photo proof of their actions.
North Korea still has much more work to deliver on a further promise to have all of its estimated 160 front-line guard posts taken down by the end of December. It is still expected to do so. It has also begun taking care of disarming the shared border village of Panmunjom, bringing an end to live-firing drills along the border, and taking out mines so the two countries can begin looking for dead still in the land all the way back to the beginning of the Korean War. Each of these were also promised as part of the September agreements.
As part of the same terms, South Korea also agreed to its own dismantling of 60 posts, along with the removal of troops with machine guns which used to wait inside those posts. It will be doing its part to disarm Panmunjom and taking out its own mines.
Both countries plan a joint review of progress against these terms in December.
These joint actions, taken without fanfare and without politicization of the events, demonstrate a rare modern move towards peace in the region. They shine in strong contrast to the blustery promises from Donald Trump when he met with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un in Singapore some months ago, all of which so far have yielded nothing of substance. Fortunately, the two Koreas are moving forward towards lasting peace without the United States.
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