S. Korea believes North begins demining at DMZ

02 October, 2018, 14:15 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom

The mine removal starting Monday took place at the Koreas' Joint Security Area in their shared border village of Panmunjom and another front-line area where the two countries plan their first joint searches for the remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Many experts say the fate of inter-Korean deals can be affected by how nuclear negotiations go between the United States and North Korea.

The move was agreed upon during a meeting last month in Pyongyang by the leaders of the two Koreas, Kim Jong Un in the North and Moon Jae-in in the South.

Stanford University scholars, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker who visited North Korea's centrifuge facility at Nyongbyon in 2010, wrote earlier this year that North Korea is estimated to have a highly enriched uranium inventory of 250 to 500 kilograms (550 to 1,100 pounds), sufficient for 25 to 30 nuclear devices. Later in the day, North Korean soldiers were detected engaging it what is believed to be demining of the other part of the sites, a Seoul official said Monday.

"The North is trying to reduce the negotiating value of Washington's potential offer of a peace treaty, by suggesting that "it's not good enough to make us denuclearize", he told South Korea's news agency Yonhap.

Amid the work in the JSA set to last for 20 days, the two Koreas and the U.N. Command (UNC), which oversees activities in the DMZ, are expected to launch trilateral consultations over a range of issues, such as how their troops will operate following their disarmament.




At Arrow Head Hill, where some of the fiercest battles occurred during the Korean War, Seoul officials believe there are remains of about 300 South Korea and United Nations forces, along with an unspecified number of Chinese and North Korean remains. "We have to remove those mines, though we are not taking out all the mines at the DMZ".

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on 12 June 2018.

They also reportedly dismantled propaganda, loudspeakers and some guard posts along the militarized border.

Apparently reflecting the improving ties, North Korea sent Choe Ryong-hae, its de facto No. 2 official, to a reception hosted by the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang last week to mark China's founding anniversary. -North Korean nuclear diplomacy. But Trump, Pompeo and other USA officials have recently reported progress in the denuclearization discussions with the North. Pompeo is to make his third trip to North Korea soon for talks. Past rapprochement efforts were often stalled after a standoff over the North's nuclear ambitions intensified.

Meanwhile, on Monday, South Korea held a ceremony marking the recent return of remains of 64 South Korean soldiers missing from the Korean War. The South's Defense Ministry says the remains were found in North Korea during a 1996-2005 excavation project between the United States and North Korea.

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