Korea offer $20 mln to help Vietnam remove unexploded ordnance

By Yonhap   June 14, 2016 | 05:03 pm GMT+7

South Korea agreed with Vietnam on Tuesday to push ahead with a joint project to remove land mines and leftover unexploded ordnance at the sites of hard fought battles in the Southeast Asian country.

The Hanoi office of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, South Korea's state international aid agency, signed a memorandum on the agreement with the Vietnamese Defense Ministry.

The project, which is scheduled to begin in the second half of the year and run through 2020, calls for South Korea to foot 62 percent of the entire $32.2 million bill.

The project will cover 8,000 hectares of former battlefields in the two central Vietnamese provinces of Quang Binh and Binh Dinh, and will provide people permanently injured by land mines with vocational training as part of efforts to enable them to return to society.

It also includes the establishment of an information system to manage the locations of land mines and unexploded ordnance and the status of their removal, and safety classes aimed at preventing local residents from being hurt.

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Unexploded munitions left over from the American - Vietnam War are used as fence posts in a village in the Plain of Jars, Laos, known as Bomb Village. Photo by David Coleman

South Korea and Vietnam reached a basic deal on the project in 2014, when Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made a visit to Seoul.

In Vietnam, about 40,000 people have been killed and another 60,000 injured by unexploded bombs since the end of the American-Vietnam War. An estimated 800,000 tons ounexploded bombs remain in the country, and only 3 to 4 percent have been removed.

Due to the rising costs of the removal of military explosives, the Vietnamese government has been seeking support from the international community.

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