See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Korea hold military talks to remove guards, end hostilities

North and South Korea held high-level military talks to end hostilities and remove guard posts in the demilitarized zone.


Written by

Updated: August 1, 2018

The two Koreas’ militaries “broadly agreed” on the need for disarming a jointly controlled area at the truce village of Panmunjom and excavating war remains inside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday.

At general-level military talks held at Panmunjom Tuesday, the two sides’ delegates shared the need for the withdrawal of guard posts from the DMZ on a trial basis and suspension of hostile activities in the West Sea, the ministry said.

The two sides failed to come up with a joint statement and a specific timeline for the military confidence-building measures, however, after marathon negotiations that began at 10 a.m.

“Regarding specific implementation timeline and method, we agreed to continue our discussion through exchange of letters and working-level contacts,” South Korean chief delegate Maj. Gen. Kim Do-gyun said during a press briefing held after the talks.

“We believe that the inter-Korean military talks were meaningful because we aligned our positions and shared the need for implementing military components of the Panmunjom Declaration following the inter-Korean summit in April,” Kim said.

Before attending the military talks, Kim told reporters the meeting aimed to implement the Panmunjom Declaration, in which President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un agreed to cease cross-border hostilities and build trust for a possible arms reduction.

Expectations have been heightened that the two Koreas will discuss the withdrawal of troops and equipment from guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone as part of efforts to transform the heavily fortified area into a symbol of peace between the two Koreas.

In a briefing to lawmakers last week, the Ministry of National Defense said the withdrawal plan would be sought “on a trial basis” until the conditions are in place for a complete withdrawal, following environmental and historical research on the cross-border region.

“The two Koreas agreed on the need to withdraw guard posts on a trial basis, expanding the cooperation into a broader area and ultimately pulling out all guard posts,” a military official told reporters under the customary condition of anonymity.

The official added that South Korea will not withdraw the guard posts unilaterally, stressing the measure would also apply to North Korea. “It was more about building a consensus for a starting point,” the official said.

The meeting kicked off at 10 a.m. after North Korean delegates crossed the border with South Korea at the truce village of Panmunjom. The meeting took place at the Peace House on the South Korean side.

The two Koreas each brought a five-member delegation to the meeting. The South Korean delegation consisted of officials from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Unification Ministry and Cheong Wa Dae. The North Korean delegation included officers from its army and navy.

The meeting came after North Korea’s relentless calls for South Korea to exert an active role in declaring an end to the Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Pyongyang has accused the US of delaying the declaration and making unilateral demands for denuclearization.

“Some (South Korean media reports) suggested that we are trying to talk South Korea into pursuing the declaration of ending the Korean War because our attempts to convince the US are not working out,” North Korea’s chief delegate An Ik-san said after greeting the South Korean delegates.

“I think it does make sense,” An added. “Whether (those reports) are valid or not, we have come to realize that all the Korean people take really seriously today’s meeting … and our militaries’ efforts for peace and prosperity between the two Koreas.”

The Moon Jae-in administration seeks to declare an end to the Korean War as soon as possible and within this year. The administration asserted that the measure would facilitate North Korea’s denuclearization process by offering it a security guarantee.

The general-level meeting came about a month after the two Koreas held military talks for the first time in 11 years. The previous meeting ended without a significant breakthrough in military confidence-building measures.

The two sides’ delegates engaged in marathon negotiations, even forgoing a lunch break, after having started the meeting on a positive note. The delegates exchanged pleasantries and jokes before entering closed-door negotiations.

“There is a saying that goes like this: Grains will not grow well when they are not taken care of. I think it takes time and effort to reap good grains,” said South Korean chief delegate Maj. Gen. Kim Do-gyun when he greeted his North Korean counterpart An.

“Through the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, I think seeds have already been planted. By putting our heads together for earnest deliberations despite the sweltering heat, I think we can definitely secure a good harvest this fall,” Kim added.

North Korean chief delegate An sought to break the ice with a joke about a bundle of documents carried by Kim. “Look at those papers, it seems they have a lot to bring up,” An said, prompting laughter among participants.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

New coronavirus cases rise to 571 in Chinese mainland

China’s National Health Commission said cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17,  on Thursday morning. Latest on pneumonia epidemic: Cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17, China’s National Health Commission said on Thursday morning. In addition, 393 suspected cases were reported as of Wednesday midnight. All the reported deaths were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan each confirmed one case.


By China Daily
January 23, 2020

Diplomacy

Strictest measures enacted to contain viral pneumonia in China

As the pathogen continues to spread, the strictest prevention and control measures are being adopted by the Chinese health authorities for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. Chinese health authorities are adopting the strictest prevention and control measures for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the pathogen continues to spread. On Monday, 77 new confirmed cases of the virus — 2019-nCoV — were reported on the Chinese mainland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland to 291, six of whom died, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday afternoon. Among the new cases, 72 were reported in Hubei province, two in Shanghai a


By China Daily
January 22, 2020

Diplomacy

Wuhan virus: China confirms human-to-human transmission, says medical workers infected

China’s health commission said on Monday (Jan 20)  that medical workers have been infected by the deadly coronavirus first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, confirming it can be transmitted between people. “The current situation is that it is no longer animal to human transmission, but human to human,” said Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) coronavirus in 2003 and now heads an expert panel under the health commission. He cited a case in Guangdong, where the patient had not been to Wuhan but caught the virus from a family member. Dr Zhong also said 14 medical personnel helping with coronavirus patients have been infected by one carrier. “The key to controlling the spread o


By The Straits Times
January 21, 2020

Diplomacy

Trump invites Asean leaders, including Duterte, to summit in US

Donald Trump, the US President has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Asean to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. US President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. “The invitation was first conveyed during the Asean-US meeting at the Asean Summit and related summits in Bangkok last November. The United States then reiterated its invitation through a letter dated Jan. 9, 2020,”the Palace said. The Palace also released a copy of Trump’s letter to the Asean leaders dated Nov. 1, given during last year’s Asean summit in Bangkok. “I would also like


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 20, 2020

Diplomacy

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un


By The Korea Herald
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy

Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked


By The Statesman
December 23, 2019