Ankit Panda, “Korea`s Successful Implement September 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement,” Diplomat, November 2, 2018, thediplomat.com/2018/11/koreas-successfully-implement-september-2018-comprehensive-military-agreement. 2) South and North Korea agreed to develop substantial military measures to transform the demilitarized zone into a zone of peace. The two Koreas have made remarkable concessions affecting their readiness for the current combat on all three battlefields: land, sea and air. They pledged to establish so-called zones of peace near the NLL and MDL without any military withdrawal or deployment of troops from both sides. Within these new buffer zones, live-fire artillery exercises, major maneuvers and new weapons will not be allowed; There will also be no-fly zones, including for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and common fishing areas that cross the NLL. The existing demilitarized zone (DMZ) extends for 2 kilometers on both sides of the MDL; the new buffer zones will extend to 5 km. The NLL-based peace zones will reach 135 km. Near the DMZ, the no-fly zone will be 10 km for helicopters, 15 km for UAVs and 20 km for fixed-wing aircraft on the east front and 40 km on the western front. On land, an area of 5 km on each side of the MDL has also been agreed, where some artillery exercises with live fire are prohibited.
This will complement the existing 2 km zone established by the 1953 Armistice Agreement, where military operations and activities are limited. Beyond the armistice agreement, the parties also agreed to remove all guard posts in the 1953 demilitarized zone, starting with 11 guard posts on each side. The traditional cycle of military exercises between the United States and South Korea included tens of thousands of troops and the visit of strategic means such as nuclear bombers to the peninsula. Again, I must stress the need for symmetry in the way we approach this issue. Why are some short-range ballistic missiles fired in the East Sea considered an illegal and aggressive provocation, but exercises such as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle from 2016, which involved 17,000 Americans? The troops and 300,000 soldiers of the Republic of Korea are considered non-provocative? The combined exercise between the U.S. and South Korea even included simulated beheading attacks on North Korean leaders. The United States and South Korea would call these exercises defensive, but North Korea would also call its provocations defensive. A second important area of the agreement is the establishment of several common functions. For example, the two sides, through a “Korean Internal Military Committee,” have agreed to hold consultations on issues related to large-scale military exercises and military rearmament that are aligned with each other.
The Military Committee was also tasked with overseeing the implementation of other parts of the agreement. In addition, a joint operation to recover remnants of war, as well as joint maritime patrol teams and a joint surveying team for the Han Estuary, have been set up. Full implementation of the agreement will also depend on progress in the denuclearization negotiations. If denuclearization fails, the military deal could be called into question. If implemented, the agreement will likely lead to an adjustment in the deployment of US forces, a review of how the Alliance conducts its exercises, and an update of operational plans. If the agreement leads to an improvement in the overall security situation on the Korean Peninsula, there could also be a reduction in the US military presence. Diplomatic engagement requires a decisive shift in attitudes and perceptions toward the United States.