Speed Reads

Koreas

North and South Korea are actually demilitarizing the demilitarized zone

In a fresh sign of progress for inter-Korean relations, North and South Korea have agreed to remove all firearms from a Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, a former village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) now used for diplomatic meetings. Both sides committed Monday to ceasing "all hostile acts" in the DMZ.

Guard postings will also be reduced in Panmunjom; land mines are already being removed from the area; and the two governments will share information on their surveillance equipment in the DMZ. "We discussed the timeline of the pullout of firearms and guard posts, as well as ways to adjust the number of guard personnel and conduct joint inspections," South Korea's defense ministry said in a statement Monday.

This is but the latest in a series of steps toward normalizing relations between North and South. Last week, the two Koreas agreed to reconnect some roads and railways separated by the DMZ, and on Friday the U.S. and South Korea canceled plans for a joint military exercise to ease diplomacy with North Korea.