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N. Korea tepid on joint remains recovery in DMZ

All Headlines 06:00 March 08, 2019

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea remains unresponsive about its preparations for the agreed-upon joint recovery of Korean War-era remains in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), while South Korea has formed a related team, a government source here said Friday.

Seoul's defense ministry informed Pyongyang earlier this week that it has created the remains excavation unit composed of 80-100 personnel.

"There's no notification yet from North Korea about whether it has done so for its part," the source said.

Under the bilateral military accord, signed on Sept. 19 last year, the two sides plan to recover the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 conflict.

It's part of confidence-building measures between the two Koreas driven by their summit talks.

Both sides were supposed to form recovery teams, respectively, and exchange relevant notifications by the end of last month. But the North has kept silent about the issue.

South Korea is still committed to launching the joint work in the DMZ area located in Chorwon, Gangwon Province, in April.

The two Koreas implemented some other military deals relatively faithfully in 2018, including the pullout of frontline guard posts, disarmament of the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom and a joint survey of waterways in the Han River estuary.

Pyongyang, however, has shifted to a lukewarm attitude this year, notably ahead of its second summit with the United States.

Its approach toward the remains recovery program is apparently a litmus test of its will for implementing the comprehensive military pact with South Korea going forward, observers said.


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