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(LEAD) Koreas complete work on removing some guard posts, land mines in DMZ

Defense 16:38 November 30, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea completed the demolition of 10 front-line guard posts each and the demining of a ridge in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Friday, Seoul's defense ministry said.

They began the work in October as part of a military accord to reduce tensions and build trust, which their defense chiefs signed in September after the third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

"The work to completely destroy the guard posts, subject to the withdrawal agreement, was completed today," a ministry official said on condition of anonymity. "Next month, we will visit each other's guard posts to verify the demolition."

Seoul and Pyongyang each agreed to destroy 10 guard posts, while retaining one each that has historical or other value.

The demining work proceeded at Arrowhead Ridge, or Hill 281, in Cheorwon, 90 kilometers northeast of Seoul -- a site that the Koreas have designated for a project to excavate troop remains from April to October next year.

The land mine clearance operations were aimed at ensuring safety for the excavation project. Separately, the two sides will continue the construction of a road on the ridge, which is needed to transport personnel and equipment for the project, by the end of the year.

"On the ridge, the North discovered thousands of land mines and explosives while the South found hundreds," a ministry official said.

The bilateral military accord includes a series of confidence-building and conventional arms control measures, such as disarming the Joint Security Area in the DMZ and setting up air, ground and maritime buffer zones to prevent accidental clashes.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows soldiers dismantling border guard posts under an inter-Korean military agreement to reduce tensions. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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