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North and South Korea agree to remove troops, weapons from shared border area

In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Unification, North Korea soldiers stand guard at the border village of Panmunjom during high level talks between North Korea and South Korea. The two Koreas agreed on Monday to withdraw troops and weapons from part of the demilitarization zone. (South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images)

North and South Korea agreed Monday to remove weapons and guard posts from a village within the demilitarized zone at their shared border.

In a trilateral meeting with the U.N. Command, the parties made the decision as part of an effort to ease tensions between the two neighbors through an inter-Korean pact reached last month, Reuters reported.

What are the details?

Troops and weapons will be pulled back from the Joint Security Area, which is the only part of the border where troops from North Korea, South Korea and the U.N. Command face each other, according to EFE.

The JSA is located in the village of Panmunjom, where guard posts and weapons are set to be withdrawn by Thursday. According to Reuters, North and South Korea will each reduce the number of unarmed personnel staffed in the area to 35 and agreed to begin sharing information and surveillance equipment.

Another 11 guard posts within a 0.6-mile radius of the Military Demarcation Line will be removed by the end of the year.

Seoul's defense ministry issued a statement confirming, "We discussed the timeline of the pullout of firearms and guard posts, as well as ways to adjust the number of guard personnel and conduct joint inspections."

The agreement also includes the implementation of a no-fly zone around the border and an end to "all hostile acts," Reuters reported.

According to ABC News, South Korean officials also announced Monday that the two Koreas had completed the removal of land mines in Panmunjom, and both "are separately clearing mines from another front-line area, where they plan their first-ever joint searches for the remains of soldiers killed during the Korean War."

Anything else?

The U.S. and South Korea have opened diplomatic dialogue with North Korea in the past year in hopes of convincing the hermit kingdom to denuclearize.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed his support of lifting sanctions against North Korea as an incentive to scrap their atomic weapons program, but the Trump administration insists that trade restrictions against the North must remain in place until the country can prove that its nuclear arsenal has been dismantled.

The Trump administration suspended joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea last week, in a show of diplomacy to allow talks with North Korea to continue.

One last thing…
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