North Korea blew up some of its frontline guard posts Tuesday as part of an agreement to ease tensions along its heavily fortified border with South Korea, Seoul's Defense Ministry says. In September, the militaries of both countries agreed at a leaders' summit in Pyongyang to eventually dismantle all guard posts inside the 155-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide border. They later withdrew weapons and troops from 11 of their guard posts and decided to completely dismantle 10 of them by the end of November. Seoul's Defense Ministry said it confirmed the dismantling of 10 North Korean guard posts on Tuesday. A ministry statement said North Korea had informed the South of its plans in advance.
South Korea began dismantling 10 of its guard posts with dynamite and excavators last week, the AP reports. Ministry officials said Tuesday that they haven't completed the demolitions yet. South Korea has about 60 posts inside the DMZ guarded by layers of barbed wire and manned by troops with machine guns. North Korea is estimated to have 160 such frontline posts. Once the dismantling is done, the two Koreas are to jointly verify their work by the end of December. They haven't decided when they will dismantle the rest of the guard posts. Under the September agreements, the Koreas have also halted live-fire drills along the border and have been removing mines at a frontline area to conduct their first joint searches for Korean War dead. (Last week, state media in North Korea said the country had tested a new "ultramodern tactical weapon.")