Peace Puppies: Kim Jong Un Gifted Two Dogs to South Korea

Larry Hoffman
October 2, 2018

The sites are at a jointly controlled area in the border village of Panmunjom and another DMZ area where the Koreas plan their first joint searches for soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

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 agreement between the nations - which are technically still at war - was reached at a meeting in Pyongyang last month between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un.

Washington wants North Korea to first provide a complete inventory of its weapons programs and take irreversible steps to give up its arsenal.

A spokesman said the operation had begun on both sides, though this was not confirmed by the North.

Mines dislodged by flooding and landslides have occasionally caused deaths in front-line areas in South Korea.

Amid the work in the JSA set to last for 20 days, the two Koreas and the U.N. Command (UNC), which oversees activities in the DMZ, are expected to launch trilateral consultations over a range of issues, such as how their troops will operate following their disarmament.

United Nations Command spokesman Col. Chad Carroll said USA 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 troops will try to remove mines on the southern parts of the two sites while North Korea is required to do the same on their northern sides. 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.

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

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

According to South Korean government reports, North is believed to have produced 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of weaponized plutonium, enough for at least eight bombs. They expressed support for the project during talks last month in Pyongyang, the North's capital.

The South Korean assessment on the North's arsenal is not much different from various outside civilian estimates largely based on the amount of nuclear materials that North is believed to have produced.

The nuclear diplomacy later came to a standstill amid disputes over how honest North Korea is about disarmament.

In 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by what Seoul said was a North Korean landmine, an accusation the North denied. They were earlier found in North Korea during a joint 1996-2005 excavation project between the United States and North Korea.

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