Work to Clear Korean DMZ of Mines Begins

October 09, 2018 11:34 AM
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Work to Clear Korean DMZ of Mines Begins 1362656
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((INTRO:)) [[Teams from both Korean militaries have begun clearing mines at a key battle site in preparation for North-South excavation efforts inside the Joint Security Area within the Demilitarized Zone, as the two nations continue efforts to ease tensions. VOA's Steve Miller reports from Seoul.]] ((TEXT:)) ((NARRATOR)) A unit of South Korea's military continues removing landmines along the heavily fortified border with North Korea as part of efforts to reduce tension and build trust with their counterparts.  The project kicked off a week ago and is scheduled to continue through the end of November, when the peninsula's frigid weather makes the ground too hard to continue their efforts. The 120-member South Korean team is removing landmines on the Arrowhead Ridge, or Hill 281, located in Cheorwon, some 90 kilometers northeast of Seoul. [[ACT (Korean Male) Army Commander DMZ MINE REMOVAL 1 -- Establish and fade under]]  ((NARRATOR)) A South Korean Army Commander told reporters that the location where they're working wasn't a minefield where troops buried mines on purpose, but because it was a battlefield during the Korean War, they expected to find several buried mines or unexploded bombs that had not been recorded. During the war, Arrowhead Ridge was the site of three key battles against enemy forces. It's assumed the hill also contains the remains of more than 200 South Korean troops and several more from the United Nations Command forces. [[ACT (Korean Male) Army Commander DMZ MINE REMOVAL 2 -- Establish and fade under]]  ((NARRATOR)) So the commander says Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams have been deployed to remove mines or bombs as soon as they're detected. He adds that a recovery team is also present in the event any human remains are found. Inside the Joint Security Area, or JSA, North Korean troops uncovered one mine during their clearing operation and later detonated it. Both efforts are part of the comprehensive military agreement signed in Pyongyang last month by the two Koreas' defense ministers that called for steps to cease "all hostile acts" and transform the DMZ into a "peace zone." Between April and October 2019, both Koreas will work to retrieve war remains as part of an effort agreed to during the third inter-Korean summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. ((STEVE MILLER, VOA NEWS, SEOUL))