South Korea Considering Pulling Troops Away From DMZ ‘On a Trial Basis’

Asia & Pacific

The South Korean Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that it wants to test the waters for a “full-scale pullout” of its forces from the Demilitarized Zone separating it from North Korea by removing some guards and equipment “on a trial basis.”

As the name implies, the DMZ itself contains sparse military forces and border guards, aside from the million-odd landmines littering the 2.5-mile-wide space between the border fences. However, not far from the frontier, about 70 percent of the South Korean army is deployed, along with the US’ 8th Army, the Straits-Times notes.

On Tuesday, South Korean Defense Ministry officials told the National Assembly’s Defense Committee about the ministry’s plans to implement one of the key points agreed upon between the leaders of North and South Korea at Panmunjom — itself within the DMZ — in April, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of miliary tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 1 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line,” said the Panmunjom Declaration,…

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