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S. Korea to help Vietnam remove land mines, duds

All News 14:25 June 14, 2016

HANOI, June 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea agreed with Vietnam on Tuesday to push ahead with a joint project to remove land mines and leftover unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the sites of hard fought battles in the Southeast Asian country, home to massive minefields that are a legacy of the Vietnam War.

The Hanoi office of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, South Korea's state international aid agency, signed a memorandum on the agreement with the Vietnamese Defense Ministry.

The project, which is scheduled to begin in the second half of the year and run through 2020, calls for South Korea to foot 62 percent of the entire bill of US$32.20 million.

Both sides plan to implement the project on 8,000 hectares of former battlefields in the two central Vietnamese provinces of Quang Binh and Binh Dinh and to provide people permanently injured by land mines with vocational training as part of efforts to enable them to return to society.

It also includes the establishment of an information system to manage the locations of land mines and UXO and the status of their removal, and the implementation of safety education aimed at preventing local residents from being hurt by them.

South Korea and Vietnam reached a basic deal on the project in 2014, when Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, made a visit to Seoul.

In Vietnam, about 40,000 people have been killed and another 60,000 injured by UXO since the end of the 1960-75 war. An estimated 800,000 tons of UXO are left in the country, only 3 to 4 percent of which have been removed.

Due to the rising costs of UXO removal, the Vietnamese government has been seeking support from the international community.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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