Pyongyang removes 636 mines on border, protests South Korea-US exercises

The operation is completed in the Panmunjom Joint Security Area. North and South start to dismantle 20 guard posts in the Demilitarised Zone. After six months, South Korea and the United States resumed the Marine Exercise Programme, which North Korea calls “anachronistic" and a threat to dialogue and peace.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea has removed 636 land mines from Panmunjom, on the border with South Korea, South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said Monday.

Mr Jeong also announced that the South Korea would continue the joint marine drill under way with the United States, a violation of the inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA) signed in September according to North Korea.

The CMA calls for the two sides to take confidence-building measures, including the pull-out of front-line troops and firearms.

The two sides disarmed land mines from Panmunjom's Joint Security Area (JSA) on 20 October. After removing their troops, the two Koreas also started to dismantle 20 guard posts in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

After a six-month break, South Korea and the United States resumed the Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP) last week.

The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers' Party of Korea, slammed the exercise this morning.

In an editorial, it said that South Korea and the United States should "behave reasonably" and abstain from "anachronistic" military acts that could undermine dialogue and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s Defence Ministry responded stressing that such defensive manoeuvres take place every year.