According to the Ministry of National Defense, the demolition began at 3 p.m. by simultaneously exploding the guard posts scattered across the DMZ. The ministry said North Korea had notified it of the plan several days earlier.
The two Koreas had originally planned to explode the guard posts after agreeing to remove them during the Pyongyang summit in September, but South Korea decided to use excavators to demolish its guard posts. South Korea began demolition work on Nov. 12.
|North Korea destroys its guard post inside the DMZ on Tuesday. (Yonhap)|
“By the end of November, the two Koreas’ militaries will have completely removed the 20 guard posts that they had promised to completely destroy,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. “We will thoroughly verify (the work) by the end of December.”
While the two Koreas’ militaries had agreed to destroy a total of 22 guard posts, they decided to preserve one guard post on each side of the DMZ -- including the one visited by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The guard post preserved by North Korea is located about 350 meters away from the South Korea-controlled area inside the DMZ. Kim Jong-un visited the frontline post in 2013, when tension was high between the two Koreas.
The two Koreas’ defense chiefs pledged at the Pyongyang summit to remove all guard posts inside the DMZ, starting with the withdrawal of guard posts within 1 kilometer of the military demarcation line as a “preliminary measure.” A total of 220 guard posts are believed to be located in the DMZ.
According to defense officials here, North Korea operates about 160 guard posts inside the DMZ along the 250-kilometer-long swath of land. The South Korean military is believed to have 60 guard posts within the DMZ.