Koreas Discuss Removing North’s Artillery from Tense Border

(From AP News)

The rival Koreas are discussing the possible relocation of North Korea’s long-range artillery guns away from the tense Korean border, South Korea’s prime minister said Monday, as the countries forge ahead with steps to lower tensions and extend a recent detente.

If realized, it would be yet another conciliatory step by North Korea since it entered talks on giving up its nuclear weapons earlier this year. But some experts say it might be a tactic to push Seoul and Washington to withdraw their more sophisticated artillery systems from front-line areas in return for pulling back its outdated conventional weapons.

In a speech marking the 68th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said that “moving (North Korea’s) long-range artillery to the rear is under discussion,” as he explained what types of goodwill steps between the Koreas have been taken in recent months.

Lee’s comments appeared to be Seoul’s first official confirmation of media reports that South Korea demanded that North Korea reposition its forward-deployed artillery pieces during inter-Korean military talks on June 14. Seoul’s Defense Ministry, which has denied those reports, said it had no immediate comment on Lee’s speech.

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