North, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border

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SEOUL (Reuters) – Troops from North and South Korea began removing some landmines along their heavily fortified border on Monday, the South’s defense ministry said, in a pact to reduce tension and build trust on the divided peninsula.

Project details were agreed during last month’s summit in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

In a statement, the ministry said the two sides agreed to remove all landmines in the so-called Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom within the next 20 days, with military engineers performing the hazardous task on the South Korean side.

There was no immediate confirmation from North Korea that its troops had begun the process.

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Endangered Species Found In DMZ Between Koreas

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Dozens of endangered species almost extinct elsewhere in South Korea have been found in the South Korean part of the Demilitarized Zone, a 248-kilometer-long and 4-km-wide belt separating the country from North Korea, according to new research reported by Yonhap News Agency.

According to Yonhap, the research conducted last month by South Korea’s Environment Ministry and its National Institute of Environmental Research in the mid-DMZ area, less than 90 kilometers north of Seoul, confirmed the presence of eight near-extinct mammals, including the small-eared cat and elk, and 24 endangered birds such as the red-crowned crane.

It said surveys by local and international groups of the heavily mined but almost completely untouched DMZ have shown it to be an ecological treasure house, with at least 70 different kinds of rare species of fauna and flora completely protected from human harassment.

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