South, North Korea Begin Removing Landmines from Border

South, North Korea Begin Removing Landmines from Border

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.

However, three senior U.S. officials involved in North Korea policy previously told Reuters that no progress has been made in moving toward serious negotiations on eliminating or even halting Kim's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his "steadfast stand" Monday to deepen relations with China in his message to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the occasion of China's 69th founding anniversary, the North's state media said.

Washington wants North Korea to first provide a complete inventory of its weapons programs and take irreversible steps to give up its arsenal. 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 National Intelligence Service, South Korea's main spy agency, couldn't immediately comment.

An estimated 2 million mines are scattered throughout the 155-mile long, 2.5-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone, according to CBS News.

In 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by what Seoul said was a North Korean landmine, an accusation the North denied.

The troops began removing mines on the southern part of the two sites. It is believed that there are tens of thousands of landmines in the two areas to be cleared.

America had no achievements at UN General Assembly: Hassan Rouhani
He said the United States would not allow the European Union or anyone else to undermine them. That meeting highlighted the divisions among world powers over how to deal with Iran.

United Nations Command spokesman Col. Chad Carroll said US forces would be providing support for the hazardous de-mining operation, but he would not confirm whether or not they would be assisting Korean forces.

The Koreas' militaries agreed on a range of deals aimed at lowering their decades-long military animosities on the sidelines of a summit between their leaders in Pyongyang.

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.

Later Monday, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in defended the military deals that he said would "end all hostile acts at the land, sea and sky between South and North Korea".

Moon, a liberal who aspires to improve ties with North Korea, is a driving force behind U.S.

After provocative tests of three intercontinental ballistic missiles and a powerful nuclear weapon last year, North Korea entered talks with the United States and South Korea earlier this year, saying it's willing to deal away its expanding nuclear arsenal. But Trump, Pompeo and other US 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.

Meanwhile, on Monday, South Korea held a ceremony marking the recent return of the 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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