RoK, DPRK, UN Command consult on disarming JSA in border area

Tuesday, 2018-10-16 14:53:58
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The DPRK's Ri Son-gwon (left), chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, shakes hands with the RoK's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (right) during their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom inside demilitarized zone, the ROK, Oct 15, 2018. (Photo:VCG)
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The Republic of Korea (RoK), the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United Nations Command consulted Tuesday (October 16) on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the inter-Korean border area, according to Seoul's defense ministry cited by local media.

The closed-door consultation started at 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) in the Freedom House, a building controlled by RoK in the border village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The consultation was made to discuss the disarmament of the JSA, which was agreed upon by defense chiefs of the two Koreas during the Pyongyang summit in September between RoK’s President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.

Soldiers from the two sides have conducted a 20-day operation to remove landmines inside the JSA, which was set up right after the halt of the Korean War, since October 1.

Following the landmine removal, the two sides planned to withdraw troops and firearms from the JSA.

After the disarmament, the RoK and the DPRK would station a patrol of 35 soldiers each, including five officers, with no weapon inside the JSA.

* Separately, the RoK and the United States on Tuesday started talks on how to share the defense costs of US forces stationed in RoK, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

The two-day negotiations were launched in central Seoul to reach a new deal on RoK's financial contribution to the US Forces Korea (USFK).

RoK paid about US$850 million this year to share cost for the US troops stationed here, but the US side demanded raising the share to as much as US$1.3 billion, according to local media reports.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in RoK as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with armistice.