South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that the two Koreas’ process to verify their recent work to withdraw some guard posts (GPs) from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) will turn the heavily fortified area into “land of peace.” His high assessment of the implementation of the September 19 inter-Korean military agreement is seen as an expression of Moon's strong commitment to fulfilling what was agreed during his September summit in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid Pyongyang’s silence about Seoul’s invitation of Kim to the South.
The two Koreas conducted mutual verification of 11 GPs within the DMZ, marking the first time that they visited each other’s GPs in the buffer zone.
The South first sent 11 seven-member teams led by a colonel on Wednesday morning for the onsite verification at 11 North Korean GPs, followed by the same number of North Korean troops checking the pullout of 11 South Korean GPs in the afternoon. “They intensively checked whether arms, equipment and troops were completely removed and if any underground facilities were left undestroyed,” a South Korean military official said.
President Moon visited the National Crisis Management Center at his office Cheong Wa Dae at 3:00 p.m. to watch a live relay of the verification process. After being briefed by Gen. Park Han-ki, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the morning verification process, the president said, “The GP withdrawals and mutual verification themselves are an epoch-making event in the 65 years of national division. I think that both Koreas showed their commitment to thorough implementation of their military agreement.” He also called the verification an “exemplary case” in military trust building. “We have reached today’s trust as both militaries faithfully implement the agreement between the leaders of the two Koreas,” he noted. “Such trust is the most driving force behind efforts to achieve a war-free Korean Peninsula.”
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