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Defense ministry says inter-Korean military deal should be kept

Inter-Korean Summit 09:39 June 17, 2020

SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry said Wednesday that an inter-Korean tension-reduction deal signed in 2018 should be kept, following the North's apparent move to abolish the pact amid heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The General Staff of the North's Korean People's Army said it will resume regular military exercises near the inter-Korean border and reestablish guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas that had been demolished following the agreement.

Asked to comment on the announcement, Seoul's defense ministry said, "It is our basic stance that the Sept. 19 military agreement should be complied with without fail to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and to prevent accidental clashes."

The North's announcement came less than two weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, threatened to scrap the deal altogether in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by activists here.

The younger Kim said Seoul should get ready for the "scrapping of the North-South agreement in military field which is hardly of any value" if it fails to take corresponding steps for the leaflet campaigns.

After a series of statements ratcheting up tensions on the peninsula, the North blew up an inter-Koran joint liaison office in the western border town of Kaesong on Tuesday.

The defense ministry said the military is closely monitoring the North's moves round-the-clock, and vowed "strong responses" if the North carries out any military provocation.

South Korean Marines patrol a perimeter fence on Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea just south of the Northern Limit Line, the inter-Korean maritime border, on June 16, 2020. South Korea's military said it is ready to respond to any North Korean provocation after Pyongyang blew up the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong earlier in the day. (Yonhap)

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