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North And South Korea Officials Meet To Discuss Leaders’ Summit

Pyongyang and Seoul officials to have a meeting to discuss leaders' summit

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Kim Jong Un
FILE IMAGE- Kim Jong Un (IANS)

Representatives of North and South Korea on Wednesday held a preparatory meeting on protocols and security at their shared border ahead of the historic summit between its leaders next week.

The meeting took place in the “truce village” of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone where South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time on April 27, reports Efe news.

Wednesday’s meeting focused on matters related to protocol and the security of the leaders, as well as the arrangement of numerous accredited national and international media for coverage of the summit, according to Seoul’s Presidential Office.

Also Read: Kim Jong-un Wants to ‘Write New History’ With S.Korea

There could be another high-level meeting at the end of this week to conclude all preparations for the first meeting between the leaders of both countries in 11 years.

It is expected that denuclearization will be one of the key points of the historic talks between Kim and Moon.

In addition, South Korea media suggested that a possible agreement between the two countries could be negotiated to announce an end to the war that started in 1950 and concluded with the Korean War armistice in 1953, which has never been replaced by a definitive peace treaty.  IANS

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Korean Soldiers Inspect The Demilitarized Border

The three sides have controlled the area since the end of the Korean War in 1953

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Korea
North Korean army soldiers are greeted by South Korean army soldiers, wearing helmets, as they cross the Military Demarcation Line inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to inspect the dismantled South Korean guard post in Cheorwon. VOA

Soldiers from North and South Korea criss-crossed their heavily-fortified border Wednesday to inspect efforts to remove front-line guard posts from their respective sides.

Inspection teams from South Korea were greeted by North Korean soldiers when they stepped into the Demilitarized Zone early Wednesday, both sides exchanging handshakes and cigarettes before the South Koreans crossed the border to begin their inspections.

The South Koreans visited 11 North Korean guard posts to make sure they had either been dismantled or disarmed, and if any underground structures were left undestroyed. North Korean inspection teams crossed the border hours later to perform similar inspections on 11 South Korean border posts.

Korea
A train transporting dozens of South Korean officials runs on the rails which leads to North Korea, inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea. VOA

Despite Wednesday’s action, about 200 manned guard posts still remain along the DMZ.

The border is the world’s most heavily fortified, filled with millions of landmines and marked by long lines of barbed wire fences.

The dismantling of the guard posts in the DMZ was part of a comprehensive military agreement reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their third summit in September at Pyongyang.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in makes a toast with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a luncheon at Samjiyon Guesthouse in Ryanggang province, North Korea. VOA

The agreement, which is aimed at reducing military tensions on the Korean peninsula, included disarming the Joint Security Area – commonly referred to as the truce village of Panmunjon – including the removal of all landmines, guard posts, surveillance and other military equipment. They also agreed to reduce the number of personnel stationed at the JSA to just 35 unarmed guards, with the aim of reshaping it into a tourist attraction.

Also Read: Donald Trump Open to Meeting Kim Jong-un Again

The Joint Security Area, controlled by both Seoul and Pyongyang along with the U.S.-led United Nations Command, is the only spot within the 250-kilometer-long DMZ where troops from North and South Korea stand face-to-face. The three sides have controlled the area since the end of the Korean War in 1953, leaving North and South Korea in a technical state of war. (VOA)