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North and South Korea begin removing landmines along border

North and South Korea begin removing landmines along border

The remains came from joint recovery operations in North Korea that had been conducted from 1996 to 2005, but the missions were later stopped due to North Korean nuclear provocations.

The official refused to provide more details.

The US has said that it will not make such concessions unless the North takes substantive steps in ridding itself of nuclear weapons.

The Joint Security Area is the only place along the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, where troops from the two Koreas face each other.

They have already dismantled propaganda loudspeakers and some guard posts along the border.

On Monday, South Korean army engineers with demining equipment were deployed to the border village of Panmunjom and another frontline area called "Arrow Head Hill" where the Koreas plan their first joint searches for soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean troops have gradually taken over most operations along the DMZ, but global forces under the US-led United Nations Command (UNC) retain major roles, especially at the JSA, where an American commander and a South Korean deputy lead the security battalion.

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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. The DMZ is the world's most heavily fortified border that is also guarded by hundreds of thousands of combat troops, barbed wire fences and tank traps on both sides. It also comes as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit North Korea's capital this month to try to set up a second summit between Kim and President Trump.

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.

The work is part of an agreement between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. -North Korean nuclear diplomacy, also called for a strong national defense, saying "peace can continue only when we have power and are confident of protecting ourselves".

Many experts say the fate of inter-Korean deals can be affected by how nuclear negotiations go between the United States and North Korea.

In a summit in April, the leaders of South and North Korea agreed to cooperate in declaring an end to the war this year, saying that they will seek multilateral talks involving the United States and possibly China. The remains of a large number of Chinese and North Korean soldiers are also likely there. Past rapprochement efforts were often stalled after an worldwide standoff over the North's nuclear ambitions intensified.

Testing done in Hawaii confirmed they belong to South Korean war dead.

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.