Tags: AS | Koreas | Diplomacy

S. Korea Starts Search for war Remains, Separate from North

Sunday, 31 March 2019 11:38 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's military began searching for Korean War remains at the heavily armed inter-Korean border on Monday after North Korea ignored its calls to carry out a previously planned joint search.

South Korean soldiers will remove mines and proceed with excavation work at an area south of the military demarcation line that bisects the rivals, said Choi Hyunsoo, spokeswoman for Seoul's Defense Ministry.

The joint recovery of war remains was one of many peace agreements reached between the Koreas last year as they took steps to improve bilateral relations amid larger nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States.

But North Korea has shown less enthusiasm about upholding inter-Korean agreements following the collapse of February's high-stakes summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump over mismatched demands on sanctions relief and disarmament.

The breakdown has been a major setback for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who held three summits with Kim last year and lobbied hard to revive nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang following a provocative run in North Korean nuclear and missile tests that led to fears of war on the peninsula.

Moon, who will travel to Washington later this month for a summit with Trump, called for Pyongyang to respond to efforts to keep the atmosphere of dialogue alive and diplomatically resolve the nuclear standoff.

"We surely will not return to the past and cannot return to the past," Moon said in a meeting with senior aides on Monday.

Moon is desperate for a breakthrough on the nuclear front that would allow him to push his ambitious plans for economic engagement with the North, which are currently being held back by U.S.-led international sanctions against Pyongyang.

Experts say the breakdown of the Trump-Kim talks raised further doubts about Moon's claim that Kim is genuinely interested in dealing away his nuclear weapons and about Moon's role as mediator, which has become less crucial with Washington and Pyongyang directly communicating.

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South Korea's military began searching for Korean War remains at the heavily armed inter-Korean border on Monday after North Korea ignored its calls to carry out a previously planned joint search.South Korean soldiers will remove mines and proceed with excavation work at an...
AS,Koreas,Diplomacy
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2019-38-31
Sunday, 31 March 2019 11:38 PM
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