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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Plans Pullout From Korean DMZ

SEOUL, South Korea -- The United States and South Korea have agreed to a timetable for removing front line American forces from the South's border with communist North Korea in a bid to boost security, the allies said in a statement.

They also confirmed a U.S. plan to invest $11 billion in new capabilities in South Korea, including upgraded missile systems and reinforced military intelligence.

North Korea has thousands of loaded artillery pieces aimed at Seoul and half of its army is deployed within 64 kilometers of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula, the world's most heavily fortified border.

The two-phase, multiyear pullback of ground troops from near the DMZ was agreed after two days of bilateral talks in Seoul.

The plan had caused anxiety in South Korea because it was unveiled in the middle of a crisis over the North's nuclear program that has escalated since late last year.

Addressing those concerns, a joint statement issued by the two countries said: "Both sides agreed that a fundamental goal is to enhance security on the Korean Peninsula and improve the combined defense."