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North Korea demolished 10 guard posts with explosives, Seoul says

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea demolished 10 guard posts with explosives, Seoul says
A photo issued on Tuesday by South Korea’s defense ministry shows a North Korean guard post being demolished inside the DMZ. Photo by Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense/EPA-EFE

Nov. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea detonated 10 guard posts inside the demilitarized zone on Tuesday but left one guard post intact, as the two Koreas move forward to carry out agreements between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

South Korea's military said North Korea used explosive devices to destroy 10 guard posts in four minutes, starting at 3 p.m., Yonhap reported.

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The dismantlement of one of the guard posts began Thursday. The North Koreans could be seen taking down the structure with a sledgehammer. On Tuesday, the military used explosives to finish the job.

The removal of the guard posts is part of an agreement signed by Kim and Moon in September, Newsis reported. The two Korean leaders had agreed to remove guard posts within 1,000 yards of the heavily fortified DMZ, 22 in total, as a joint commitment to peace.

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Unlike the South Korean structures, North Korea's guard posts come with attached facilities. North Korea's central surveillance guard post and underground facilities are one structure, and an adjacent military facility also includes barracks.

North Korea took efforts to dismantle the facilities, said one military source who spoke to Yonhap.

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"It is my understanding North Korea made a great deal of preparations to demolish the guard posts," the source said. "To demonstrate the will to implement the agreement, it is very likely they used explosions to signal their intent."

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While North Korea detonated its guard posts, South Korea used excavators to remove facilities on its side of the DMZ.

North Korea's demolition will be followed by mutual inspections. It is expected South Korean military personnel and members of the United Nations Command will be checking the North's work to verify whether underground facilities have been completely destroyed.

North Korea is preserving one of the guard posts at Kkachilbong, a location Kim visited in June 2013. The guard post is about 350 yards from the South's side, according to Newsis.

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The Korea Herald reported North Korea operates a total of 160 guard posts, while South Korea retain 60 posts inside the DMZ.

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