Korean Truce Village to Be Free of Arms
For the first time in decades, the 1953 truce village between North and South Korea will be weapons-free by Saturday.
The two Koreas agreed last month to remove arms from Panmunjom, officially known as the Joint Security Area.
Armed soldiers from the North and the U.S.-led United Nations Command have glowered at each other across the frontier since the 1953 armistice that ended the fighting in Korea.
As soon as North and South Korean defense officials and U.N. experts verify the village is now weapons-free, 35 unarmed guards will patrol the crossing and visitors and tourists will once again have “freedom of movement.”
Panmunjom had been a neutral zone, where visitors could walk around freely, until 1976 when North Korean forces opened fire on a work party chopping down a tree, killing two U.S. soldiers.
Both sides completed removing landmines from the Joint Security Area last week.
North and South Korea are still technically at war. A peace treaty has never been signed, only an armistice.
But talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have led to warmer ties and greater cooperation.