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North and South Korea Troops Cross Border For First Time Since War, This Time for Peace


Seoul’s Defense Ministry said that the “inter-Korean field verification was held in a friendly atmosphere.”
North and South Korean troops have crossed what has been described as the world’s most heavily fortified border as part of a historic effort to make peace end a decades-long rivalry between their countries.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense affirmed Wednesday that the “inter-Korean military authorities carried out a mutual field test for the first time since the division,” which took place after World War II and led to a bloody three-year conflict sponsored by opposing Cold War superpowers. Since then, the hostile neighbors have remained technically in a state of war—including some covert cross-border infiltrations over the years—but a rare detente between them this year has brought with it unprecedented gains in diplomacy.
As part of a bilateral military agreement signed in September, the two Koreas have disarmed, demined and destroyed defense posts along the massive Demilitarized Zone that divides them. The ministry said that personnel from both sides confirmed “the withdrawal of all firearms, equipment and troops, the demolition of ground facilities and the burial and destruction of underground facilities.”
The ministry added that “the inter-Korean field verification was held in a friendly atmosphere, and both North and South actively responded to various requests from their counterparts and cooperated in the verification.”
A North Korean soldiers (L) shakes hands with a South Korean soldier during a mutual on-site verification of the withdrawal of guard posts along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on December 12, North Korea.

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