The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) began a process to verify the withdrawal of guard posts along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) through mutual onsite visits Wednesday, ROK’s defense ministry said.
Each country is set to send a seven-member verification team for each guard post subject to their pullout agreement, which is part of a broader accord aimed at reducing military tensions and building confidence.
The two sides initially agreed to demolish 11 guard posts in the DMZ but decided later to keep one unarmed in light of their historical value.
Each team, led by a colonel-level officer, consists of five verification personnel and two filming staff, Yonhap reported, adding that the ROK side started the verification process in the morning, while the DPRK will check its neighbor’s posts in the afternoon.
The verification staff’s tasks include checking if all weapons and troops were pulled out and whether all underground facilities are disarmed.
“The two Koreas’ troops are making cross-border paths in the DMZ and moving across the MDL peacefully. … This is the first such case since the country’s division,” the ministry said in a press release.
“This clearly shows the will of the two Koreas’ military authorities to implement their accord,” it added.
The military agreement was signed by the defense chiefs of the two sides during the Pyongyang summit in September between ROK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.