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2 Koreas hold working-level military talks

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in

Seoul, Sep 13 (UITV/IANS) - The two Koreas held working-level military talks on Thursday to discuss details of a comprehensive agreement to flesh out the military part of their April summit accord aimed at reducing border tensions and building mutual trust.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. at Tongilgak, a North Korea-controlled building in the truce village of Panmunjom within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Pyongyang recently made the proposal for the talks, which Seoul accepted later.

Army Col. Cho Yong-geun is leading South Korea's three-member delegation, while the North's side is led by Col. Om Chang-nam.

"We will have discussions related to the agreement on the military part (of the summit accord)," Cho told Yonhap before the talks.

The two sides are expected to discuss a series of issues, such as withdrawing DMZ guard posts on a trial basis, carrying out a joint project to excavate Korean War remains in the buffer zone and disarming the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom.

The results of the talks are likely to be included in the envisioned military agreement, which is expected to be officially adopted by President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un during their third summit slated to take place in Pyongyang from September 18 to 20.

During the July 31 general-grade talks, Seoul and Pyongyang shared the understanding in "broad terms" over the issues of fostering peace in the DMZ in line with the April summit agreement to transform the border area into a "peace zone".

Also during the working-level meeting, Seoul is likely to push for the establishment of a joint military committee and a direct communication line between the military leaders of the two Koreas, which is likely to be included in the military agreement.

Some observers say that the two sides could also discuss the inclusion of measures to prevent any naval clashes near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a de facto maritime boundary.

During the April summit, Moon and Kim agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the NLL into a "maritime peace zone" in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.