Koreas miss deadline to exchange lists of staff for joint excavation of war remains

Koreas miss deadline to exchange lists of staff for joint excavation of war remains

SEOUL, The two Koreas have failed to meet the February deadline to exchange lists of staff for their joint project to excavate Korean War troop remains in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a government source here said Monday.

It marks the first time that the two sides failed to deliver on part of last year's bilateral military accord, which included a plan to exchange the lists by the end of last month for the excavation set to take place from April through October.

Some observers said that the failure appears to be attributable to Pyongyang's focus on preparations for last week's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and its leader Kim Jongun in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"Regarding the formation of the staff, there has not been any mutual notification yet," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Under the military accord, the two Koreas are to pick five leading officials each, including one colonellevel chief, and 80 to 100 officials apiece for the project to retrieve troop remains in Arrowhead Ridge, an intense battle zone during the Cold War conflict.

The two Koreas' defense chiefs signed the military accord soon after the third summit between President Moon Jaein and Kim in Pyongyang last September. It is intended to reduce border tensions, prevent accidental clashes and build trust.

The accord also includes setting up ground, air and maritime buffer zones, removing some border guard posts, disarming the Joint Security Area in the DMZ and conducting a joint survey of the Han River estuary for the joint use of the waterway to which civilian access has been restricted due to military tensions.

All such projects proceeded in line with the accord except for the exchange of the lists for the excavation project.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

You may also like...