Two Koreas remove landmines at tense border


During his summit with Kim last month, the two leaders also agreed to remove some guard posts at the border by the end of the year and halt military drills on the border from November.

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

The North has for decades demanded that the U.S. formally declare the end of the 1950-53 conflict that was halted only with an armistice, saying an official end to the war would ease tensions on the flashpoint peninsula.

South Korea earlier Monday sent troops to remove its mines from the sites at the Demilitarized Zone under recent agreements with North Korea aimed at reducing their decades-long military animosity. North Korea, for its part, is considered to have put about 800,000 to 1 million mines on its side.

Experts believe the South Korean and USA militaries had planted about 1 to 1.2 million landmines south of the DMZ, which measures 250 kilometers in length and 4 kilometers in width. A 2015 DMZ mine explosion blamed on North Korea that maimed two South Korean soldiers pushed the rivals to the brink of an armed conflict.

In November past year, a North Korean soldier was shot and injured by his own military as he crossed to the South Korean side of the JSA in Panmunjom.

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

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North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons, a South Korean official said on Tuesday, the first public announcement about the hermit kingdom's secret arsenal.

KCNA said that Pyongyang was willing to take "such. steps as eternal dismantlement" of its nuclear complex "if the U.S. takes a corresponding measure" but again did not elaborate.

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

North Korea, South Korea and the USA have not signed the 1997 worldwide treaty banning landmines. He also said the north is committed to helping maintain "long lasting peace and prosperity" on the peninsula.

But it would be the two countries' first joint demining work in more than a decade and comes amid global diplomacy aimed at ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

The summit was the third this year between the leaders, following a rapid thaw in relations. It's not unusual for wooden North Korean mine boxes to wash down a swollen river in summer, causing deadly incidents in South Korea. They were earlier found in North Korea during a joint 1996-2005 excavation project between the United States and North Korea. It is believed that South Korean, United States, French and Chinese soldiers are buried there.