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A no-fly zone and a ban on military drills near the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea came into effect on Thursday as the once uneasy neighbors push to further defuse tensions, report agencies.
The measures were part of a military accord inked during last month’s inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, which includes a halt in ‘all hostile acts’, and a gradual removal of landmines and guard posts within the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).
The United States has raised concerns that the deal could undercut defense readiness amid tardy progress on North Korea’s denuclearisation, though it displayed support at an annual security consultative meeting of defense ministers on Wednesday in Washington.
“The South and the North completely removed dangers of military clash through the military agreement,” South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in told the parliament on Thursday. “The two Koreas and the United States will achieve complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and lasting peace based on firm trust.” North Korea has also taken steps toward the pact, such as covering artillery deployed along the skirmish-prone western shore, Seoul’s defense ministry said.
The no-fly zone extends 40 kms (25 miles) north and south from the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) in the east and 20 kms (12 miles) in the west for fixed-wing aircraft. The agreement also bars live-fire drills involving fixed-wing aircraft and air-to-ground guided weapons in the no-fly area.