The Apache Pow Wow

Landmines Cleared From the Denuclearized Zone

Anabell Xu, Staff Writer

We may be seeing the dawn of a permanent peace between North and South Korea. This news isn’t new—President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-Un on June 12, and South Korean President Moon Jae-In even embraced Kim Jong-Un during their last summit on Sept. 18. We’ve even seen the emergence of a strange instance where President Trump claimed that he “fell in love” with the North Korean president.

Many in the international community, however, have been viewing these actions as all fluff. Some have especially been focusing on North Korea’s inability to dismantle its nuclear missiles and its continuing hostilities against the U.S. army. Many South Koreans have also been skeptical, despite retaining some sense of hopeful optimism. Nevertheless, opinions have been quite divided over North Korea’s true intentions in showing hospitality and a willingness to cooperate with international demands.

However, on Oct. 1, engineers from both sides of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) began clearing landmines in preparation for search parties to scour through the devastated mile-long strip of land for fallen soldiers. The decision comes as a result of the Pyongyang Declaration that President Moon and Kim Jong-Un signed in September, sparking the hope that action may be taken after all.

It’s not a massive step towards peace (it’s called the demilitarized zone and yet there are still landmines, which is very ironic) because both countries are simply trying to make it safer for search parties to go through the area without getting hurt. But landmines in the DMZ have still set off quite a few scares, especially when North Korean landmines started washing up tourist beaches in South Korea. The demining will start on Panmunjom, the place where the 1953 armistice was signed, and will hopefully reduce these scares and de-escalate tensions between the two countries.

President Moon aims to turn Panmunjom into a “peace zone” so tourists can explore freely after the soldiers’ bodies are recovered. Demining operations will also be held on Arrowhead Hill, home to the Korean War’s fiercest battleground and graveyard to over 300 American and French troops, in addition to hundreds of Korean soldiers. The bodies will be returned to their respective countries if they can be identified.

The Korean War may finally be coming to an end, and the demining of the DMZ may be the perfect catalyst to start that off. While it is always good to remain skeptical about North Korea’s motives and true intentions about its nuclear weapons arsenal, reconciling the two Koreas is a win-win in any situation.

Photo courtesy of GOODNEWSNETWORK.COM

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Landmines Cleared From the Denuclearized Zone