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UN Command Reauthorizes Forces at Panmunjeom to Carry Firearms

UN Command Reauthorizes Forces at Panmunjeom to Carry Firearms

United Nations Command(UNC) guard forces in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom have been authorized to carry firearms after North Korean soldiers in the Joint Security Area(JSA) were spotted with guns.

In a statement on Tuesday, the UNC said the decision to allow its forces to resume carrying weapons to protect both themselves and civilians was made in consideration of the North's current armed security posture.

The statement added that the decision was precautionary and the Command conveyed its stance to the South Korean government and the North Korean military that a disarmed JSA is the safest and most peaceful scenario.

Last month, Pyongyang terminated a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement intended to quell border tensions in response to Seoul's partial suspension following the regime’s military spy satellite launch.

In line with the termination, the North began restoring frontline guard posts that had been destroyed or abandoned under the deal and rearmed personnel in the JSA.

Military sources in Seoul said that South Korea then requested that the UNC implement a reciprocal policy, with defense ministry spokesperson Jeon Ha-kyu stating on Tuesday that South Korean personnel have been carrying weapons since early December.

[Photo : YONHAP News]

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