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(LEAD) Defense ministry says inter-Korean military pact should be kept

All Headlines 14:08 June 04, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more details in 5th para)

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry called Thursday for adhering to an inter-Korean tension reduction agreement after North Korea's warning to scrap it if the anti-Pyongyang leaflet campaign continues.

Earlier in the day, Kim Yo-jong, leader Kim Jong-un's sister, issued a statement warning that the military pact will be nullified and other exchange projects halted if Seoul fails to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist country.

"The defense ministry maintains our position that the Sept. 19 military agreement should be kept," spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing.

The official, however, did not directly mention Kim's statement.

The inter-Korean agreement, named the Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA), calls for a series of trust-building and arms control measures under a broader scheme to halt all hostile acts against each other. It was signed during an inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang in 2018.

In response to the criticism for its effectiveness due to the North's acts of violation, Choi simply said, "We believe there are parts effectively implemented."

In November 2019, the communist country carried out artillery firing drills on the western border island of Changrin in violation of the agreement. Last month, four bullets from the North hit a South Korean guard post inside the Demilitarized Zone, prompting the South Korean troops to return fire.

This image captured from a documentary film aired by North Korea's official Korean Central TV on Jan. 10, 2020, shows test-firings of multiple rocket launchers by an all-female military unit on the western border island of Changrin in November 2019. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the firing drills. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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