North, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border

North, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border

North, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border

As part of last month's deal, guard posts and weapons will be shipped out of the JSA after the demining.

Teams from both Koreas will flock to Arrow Head Hill in the Gangwon province in South Korea.

The Korean War left millions dead or missing, and South Korea wants to expand joint excavations with North Korea for remains at Demilitarized Zone areas. North Korea's state media didn't immediately confirm its reported demining.

In November 2017, North Korean troops at the JSA shot one of their soldiers defecting to the South five times.

During the war, an outnumbered French battalion belonging to the American-led U.N. Command repelled a series of Chinese attacks in the area in October 1952, months before a South Korean army division also turned back similar Chinese assaults.

Propaganda loudspeakers and some guard posts along the border have already been dismantled.

South Korea would find itself more vulnerable to North Korean infiltration and assault via land routes, while North Korea would worry about front-line soldiers and residents escaping to the South more easily, Lee said.

Mines will also be removed from a separate site where hundreds of soldiers were killed in the Korean war.

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Meanwhile, on Monday, South Korea held a ceremony marking the recent return of remains of 64 South Korean soldiers missing from the Korean War.

Moon has advocated dialogue with the isolated North to nudge it toward denuclearisation.

"I think it's the worst-ever South-North Korean agreement that made a concession in our defense posture before (North Korean) denuclearization is achieved", Shin Wonsik, a former vice chairman of the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week.

Many experts say the fate of inter-Korean deals can be affected by how nuclear negotiations would go between the United States and North Korea. Past rapprochement efforts were often stalled after a standoff over the North's nuclear ambitions intensified.

The KCNA said North Korea has taken "substantial and crucial steps" to implement the summit agreement with the United States but that Washington is still talking about intensifying sanctions, rather than trying to resolve the end-of-war declaration issue that should have been resolved decades ago.

Nuclear diplomacy later came to a standstill amid disputes over how genuine North Korea is about its disarmament pledge.

An editorial in a state-run North Korean newspaper added that a declaration replacing the 65-year-old armistice to formally end the Korean War "is not just a gift from a man to another".

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.

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