Institute of East and West Studies • Yonsei University

Research News

The 11st Brown Bag Seminar (BBS)
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  • 2018-12-03 10:26:04

Date: 11:30. 22nd, Nov (Thu)


Topic: A Study on Efficient Methods for Landmine Removal on the Korean Peninsula


Presenter: 방대선 Research professor


Location: Yonsei University, New Millennium Hall 701


1. Research objective 

  • To emphasize the importance North and South Korea relations play in clearing of landmines in the DMZ.

  • Research effective measures for removal of landmines in the DMZ and civilian controlled areas

  • Research ways which International NGOs can cooperate related governmental agencies such as the Korean Ministry of Defense.


2. Current situation

  • Including Korea, there are an estimated total of 57 countries in the world where landmines are still present. Land area where there are landmines present are estimated to cover an area of over 2,000 km2 (622 times the size of Yonsei University)

  • Even though an international agreement was signed in 1997 prohibiting the use of anti-personnel landmine, there are still an estimated yearly 6,300 casualties caused by landmines. 80% of these casualties are civilians

  • As of 2017, 162 countries have signed this agreement (countries include USA, China, Russia, Israel etc.

  • Contents of the 1997 ICBL (International campaign to band landmine) agreement:

    • To develop technology related to the detection and removal of anti-personnel landmines

    • Each country is only allowed to retain a very limited amount of such landmines

    • Other than the agreed amount, use of landmines is prohibited

    • Unless there is a valid reason, all buried landmines subjected to this agreement are to be removed within the next 10 years.

  • Considering the existing situation between the United States and North-South Korea relations, the cooperation of all parties involved is needed before the United Nations can take action to remove land mines and compensate affected victims

  • Korea’s situation:

    • In the South of the Military Declaration line, there are approximately 1.27 million landmines present. However, the exact location of these landmines are unknown. In the construction of the North South Gyeongrui Railway in 2002, an estimated 36,000 landmines were removed. The ministry of defense in Korea estimates that approximately 500 landmines are removed yearly.

    • At the existing rate of removal, it would take approximately 469 years and 1,342 billion Korean Won to remove all remaining landmines.


3. Measures needed to clear landmines in the Korean Peninsula efficiently

  • Policy considerations:

    • Social and economic impact of clearing landmines

    • Forming common consensus between all parties involved on the necessity of landmine removal in the DMZ

    • The role civilians, the public and military forces in Northeast Asia play after unification

    • Forming common consensus among all parties involved on the importance of removing landmines from unidentified minefields inside and outside of the civilian control line

    • Efforts to legislate the law on removal of landmines

    • Prohibiting future use of anti-personnel landmine in accordance to the 1997 agreement

    • Case studies on how neighboring countries policies and how they can be used to optimize Korea’s plans to remove landmines.



4. Future developments thereafter

  • Collecting data on landmine removal *A detailed study of effective measures for removal of landmines in the Korean Peninsula

  • Small group seminars involving relevant organizations: international organizations, international NGOs etc.

  • Reporting by governmental agencies (national assembly, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry Unification etc.)

  • Assisting affected landmine victims



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