S. Korea starts search for war remains, separate from North


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.

Catholic Group Announces Massive Action Against LA Dodgers After Team Invites Anti-Christian 'Hate Group'

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.

The Koreas had agreed to jointly search for war remains from April 1 to Oct. 31, which was part of a military agreement reached on the sidelines of Moon’s third summit with Kim in Pyongyang last September. The North in recent weeks has been unresponsive to South Korean calls for military talks to discuss details about carrying out the search.

“Our side will prepare to immediately switch to a joint search if North Korea later responds,” Choi said.

Under the September military agreement aimed at reducing conventional threats, the Koreas also established buffer zones on land and at sea and no-fly zones above their border. They also removed some front-line guard posts and conducted a joint survey of a 70-kilometer (43-mile) -long waterway near their western border under plans to allow civilian vessels from both countries to pass freely.

But Seoul’s Defense Ministry said last week that the civilian use of the river estuary will be “postponed” because of the lack of discussions with the North.

The Koreas have also fallen behind on their plans to disarm a jointly controlled area at the border village of Panmunjom and let tourists freely cross concrete slabs forming the demarcation line there. North Korea recently withdrew its entire staff at a frontline liaison office with South Korea before sending some of them back to the office.

Some analysts say North Korea is trying to pressure South Korea into backing its position with the U.S. more strongly. Following the breakdown of the Trump-Kim meeting, North Korean state media have urged the South to distance itself from Washington and resume joint economic projects that have been held back by sanctions.

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.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City