Taking one small step closer to cooling relations between North and South Korea, the North destroyed ten more guard posts on the Demilitarized Zone Tuesday.
The ten guard posts were blown up with explosives all within a few minutes of each other likely in an effort to meet the agreement deadline for dismantling the posts.
The two Koreas have been dismantling the posts for the last few weeks, but some analysts worried that the North was falling behind the November 30 deadline.
Per ABC News:
A North Korean guard post that used to oversee the South Korean side of the heavily-fortified border was covered in black and white smoke after debris filled the air at the moment of the explosion. Video provided by South Korea’s defense ministry showed the process of dismantling the guard posts.
South Korea is also in the process of tearing down 10 concrete guard posts — using excavators instead of dynamite for environmental reasons.
“We aim to verify the dismantlement, and ultimately withdraw all guard posts in both North and South Korean border military demarcation line,” Choi Hyun-soo, South Korea’s defense ministry spokesperson said during a briefing Tuesday.
The elimination of the guard posts was a key early part of rapprochement between the two long-time rivals and was part of the agreement to strengthen ties reached in September.
Still, much need to be done. Many say denuclearization is a far more important step.
“Demolishing guard posts are a meaningful step forward in the sense that in effect it will help minimize military conflict between the two countries, but conventional weapons control without denuclearization is not enough,” Shin Beom-chul, director of center for security and unification at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told ABC News.
It is unlikely that any of this would have happened, of course, without the early intervention of U.S. President Donald Trump who led a summit between the two nations in June of this year where these negotiations kicked off.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.