Army apologizes for souvenir made from guard post barbed wire

SEOUL, South Korea's Army apologized Wednesday for its controversial souvenirs made of barbed wires from a border guard post (GP) destroyed under an inter-Korean military accord aimed at reducing tensions and building trust.

A frontline Army unit gave the souvenirs to a group of lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party last week, despite the defense ministry's directive to preserve the wreckage of the demolished border GPs in light of its historical and cultural value.

As part of the Sept. 19 military accord, the two Koreas demolished 10 GPs apiece in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in November. They initially planned to destroy 11 GPs each, but decided later to keep one of them apiece, albeit unarmed, due to historical symbolism.

"Despite (the ministry's) directive, the unit made a mistake. The Army has thus stopped the production and use of the souvenirs," the Army said in a statement sent to reporters.

"We take the case seriously, and will ensure that the GP wreckage will be used for peace and cultural purposes," it added.

The GP destruction is a key part of the military accord which the two Koreas' defense ministers signed after the third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang in September.

The accord aims to flesh out the military part of the first Moon-Kim summit agreement in April, which includes transforming the DMZ into a "peace zone in a genuine sense" by ceasing all hostile acts against each other in and around the area.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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