SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry pledged Wednesday to mobilize greater levels of personnel and equipment to complete the removal of landmines across the country by 2021, three years ahead of schedule, to ensure public safety.
The military buried about 53,000 M14 antipersonnel mines around 37 military bases across the country between 1960s and 1980s to protect those strategic facilities. Then in 1998, it began removing them and has so far gotten rid of around 50,000 mines.
In order to prevent possible accidents caused by landmines, the military vowed to complete the demining project by October 2021, three years ahead of its original target year of 2024, according to the ministry.
To expedite the work, the military will significantly increase the number of personnel from the current 200 to 1,200 and employ further high-tech equipment, it added.
"Over the past 30 years, geographic changes and natural disasters, such as typhoons and landslide, are expected to cause some of the mines to be swept away. So we will also further expand the search areas to guarantee public safety," the ministry said in a release.
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