North Korea may have up to 60 nuclear weapons, South Korea says

South Korea begins removing mines expects North to do same

The two sides agreed to remove all land mines in the so-called Joint Security Area in Panmunjom within the next 20 days, in a pact reached during last month's summit in Pyongyang between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean despot Kim Jong-un.

The troops began removing mines on the southern part of the two sites.

The Associated Press reports that the South Korean and US militaries have set one million to 1.2 million landmines south of the DMZ.

The official refused to provide more details.

South Korea says North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons.

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. It is believed that there are tens of thousands of landmines in the two areas to be cleared. The goal is make the area safe for troops from both North and South Korea.

In November 2017, North Korean troops at the JSA shot one of their soldiers defecting to the South five times. But they said they expected the North to abide by the tension-easing deals their defense chiefs struck on the sidelines of their leaders' summit last month in Pyongyang.

Military officials have predicted that once the disarming measure is implemented, the JSA will look similar to what it had been like before the 1976 axe murder incident, when rank-and-file guard posts were banned from carrying heavy firearms - even pistols.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together during a farewell ceremony before Moon's departure from North Korea.

South Korea's main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, did not comment immediately.

Moon, a liberal who aspires to improve ties with North Korea, is a driving force behind U.S. -North Korean nuclear diplomacy.

In 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by what Seoul said was a North Korean landmine, an accusation the North denied.

Many experts say the fate of inter-Korean deals can be affected by how nuclear negotiations go between the United States and North Korea. Past rapprochement efforts were often stalled after an global standoff over the North's nuclear ambitions intensified.

But it claimed the USA is "trying to subdue" it through sanctions - an unsubtle call for Washington to lift sanctions if it wants any progress in their stalled nuclear negotiations.

"Some Korean issue experts of America are recently spouting such rubbish that the USA should force the DPRK to not only notify its nuclear program and have it verified but also dismantle its Nyongbyon (Yongbyon) nuclear facility and missile facility in return for the U.S. response to its call for a war-end declaration", it said.

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