Koreas halt all ‘hos­tile acts’ as part of dec­la­ra­tion

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

North Korea and South Korea halted all “hos­tile acts” on land, sea, and air be­gin­ning Thurs­day in ac­cor­dance with the Py­ongyang joint dec­la­ra­tion signed be­tween North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in in Septem­ber.

Kim and Moon made the pledge on end­ing mil­i­tary ten­sion and de­nu­cle­ariz­ing the penin­sula at a joint press con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 19, fol­low­ing a sec­ond round of talks dur­ing Moon’s three-day visit to Py­ongyang.

The two sides are pro­hib­ited from con­duct­ing live-fire ar­tillery drills and reg­i­ment-level field ma­neu­ver­ing ex­er­cises or those by big­ger units within five kilo­me­ters of the Mil­i­tary De­mar­ca­tion Line (MDL).

North Korea closed its coastal ar­tillery to al­le­vi­ate mil­i­tary ten­sions, while the South sealed its ship-borne ar­tillery and coastal ar­tillery close to the bor­der ar­eas, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

In line with the joint dec­la­ra­tion, the two Koreas will cre­ate a 20 kilo­me­ter-wide no-fly zone along the west­ern part of the MDL and a 40 kilo­me­ter-wide no-fly zone along the eastern side, South Korean TV sta­tion KBS re­ported.

The South has adopted dif­fer­ent re­stric­tions on he­li­copters, drones and bal­loons, and ex­cep­tions will be made in the event of an emer­gency such as for­est fires and res­cue op­er­a­tions, KBS re­ported.

South Korea also strength­ened reg­u­la­tions and ed­u­ca­tion of bor­der guards to avoid oc­ca­sional mil­i­tary con­flicts, South Korea’s Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense said, Xin­hua re­ported.

“We will thor­oughly ver­ify the North side’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment, in­clud­ing its move­ment on mil­i­tary ex­er­cises around the MDL and whether it com­plies with the no-fly zone,” the South’s de­fense min­istry said in a state­ment.

“The South and the North com­pletely re­moved dan­gers of mil­i­tary clashes through the mil­i­tary agree­ment,” Moon told par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to the Reuters.

South Korea noted the al­le­vi­a­tion of mil­i­tary ten­sions help build mu­tual trust, which will pro­mote the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the penin­sula and the es­tab­lish­ment of a peace mech­a­nism.

De­nu­cle­ariza­tion, how­ever, will be a long-term process that goes along with in­creas­ing ex­changes in a wide range of fields and the build­ing-up of mu­tual trust, Cui Zhiy­ing, di­rec­tor of Tongji Uni­ver­sity’s Korean Penin­sula Re­search Cen­ter in Shang­hai, told the Global Times on Sun­day.

Reuters on Wed­nes­day re­ported that North Korea is pre­par­ing its Pung­gye-ri nu­clear test site for in­ter­na­tional in­spec­tors, the first time for­eign ex­perts would be al­lowed to ex­am­ine the fa­cil­i­ties.

When the site was of­fi­cially closed in May, a hand­ful of jour­nal­ists were in­vited to ob­serve the sealed tun­nels where nu­clear tests were con­ducted. But ob­servers were not al­lowed to use ra­di­a­tion mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment, the Reuters re­ported.

North Korea agreed to per­ma­nently de­stroy the Tongchang-ri en­gine test site and mis­sile launch pads in the pres­ence of ex­perts from the coun­tries con­cerned. It also ex- pressed will­ing­ness to take fur­ther steps, such as clos­ing its main Yong­byon nu­clear com­plex, in re­turn for re­cip­ro­cal mea­sures by the US, ac­cord­ing to the joint dec­la­ra­tion.

The ces­sa­tion of mil­i­tary hos­til­ity is an ob­vi­ous sign that the penin­sula is shift­ing to a more peace­ful and sta­ble sit­u­a­tion that ben­e­fits the two Koreas, Cui said, not­ing that the US has been us­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions on North Korea as a tool to in­ter­fere in re­gional af­fairs and urge the North to de­nu­cle­arize.

South Korean marines take part in a reg­u­lar drill on Yeon­pyeong Is­land on Thurs­day, the same day North Korea and South Korea agreed to halt all “hos­tile acts” on land, sea, and air.

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