North Korea has up to 60 nuclear bombs, Seoul says

02 October, 2018, 20:42 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • South Korean soldiers standing guard at Panmunjom. North and South Korea agreed to remove all landmines in the so-called Joint Security Area within the next 20 days

The Koreas remain split along the 248-kilometer (155-mile) -long DMZ that was originally created as a buffer zone at the end of the Korean War.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their historic summit in Singapore in June in which they agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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 Korean and United Nations forces, along with an unspecified number of Chinese and North Korean remains.

"But, if the U.S. doesn't want the end of war, the DPRK will also not particularly hope for it", it added, using the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Since fighting during the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a stalemate, at least nine soldiers have been killed in incidents with North Korean troops, including the killing in 1976 of two US soldiers by axe-wielding North Koreans, the UNC says.

While the removal of land mines is hailed as the "first step" to carrying out the military aspects of the agreement made at the Pyongyang summit, completely removing the mines would require tremendous time and efforts, analysts said.

Extremely heavy fighting took place in October 1952 in a place known as "Arrow Head Hill". About 2 million mines are believed to be scattered in and near the DMZ, which is also guarded by hundreds of thousands of combat troops, barbed wire fences and tank traps.


The United Nations Command supervises the DMZ, which is almost 250 kilometers long, and has troops stationed there.

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.

Seoul says South Korea has begun clearing mines from two sites inside the heavily fortified border with North Korea under a package of tension-reduction deal between the rivals.

The AP reports that the joint project this month is the first to remove landmines from border areas since the early 2000s.

In a midday speech marking South Korea's 70th Armed Forces Day, Moon also called for a stronger national defense, saying "peace can continue only when we have power and are confidant of protecting ourselves".

Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English.

Kim also expressed his will to further advance Pyongyang-Beijing relations based on their traditionally close ties that have been built for decades, according to the Korean Central News Agency. George Grow was the editor. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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