Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

Mine Action

Last updated: 19 November 2018


Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

Not a party

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

Not reported

Mine action strategic plan


Extent of contamination as of end 2017


Not known

Cluster munition remnants


Land release in 2017


None reported



Clearance was reported in October 2018 for the first time in many years, as a result of a military agreement between North and South Korea to remove all mines in the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Panmunjon in order to excavate the remains of soldiers



The precise extent of the mine problem in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is not known. North Korea admitted in 1998 that it had laid mines in the DMZ between the north and south of the peninsula. The affected areas are reported to be marked and fenced.[1] In early 2006, officials commented to the Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit (ISU) that North Korea had not laid mines elsewhere in the country,[2] despite fears that, among others, sections of the east coast were also mined.

In 2016, as in the previous year, there were reports of new use of mines by North Korea, in areas both on its side of the DMZ, and in those patrolled by South Korea.

(See the South Korea’s profile for further details.)


Program Management

North Korea has no functioning mine action program.


Land Release

No release of mined area is believed to have taken place in 2017, as in earlier years.

In April 2018, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, met and issued a statement promising to bring “lasting peace” to the peninsula with a commitment to denuclearization and to ending hostilities, turning the DMZ into a peace zone.[3]  In June 2018, President Moon called for an inter-Korean operation to excavate the remains of soldiers in the DMZ killed in the 1950–1953 Korean War.[4] In September 2018, the North Korean and South Korean ministers of defense signed a military agreement, the Panmunjom Declaration, which mandates that North Korea, South Korea, and the United Nations Command (UNC) “will remove all mines in the Joint Security Area (of the DMZ) in Panmunjom within 20 days, beginning on October 1, 2018.”[5] South Korean officials confirmed on 22 October 2018 that clearance of the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom by North and South Korea had been completed.[6] North Korea were reported to have cleared five mines while South Korea found none.[7] Mine clearance also took place from 1 October to 30 November 2018 in Cheolwon, Gangwon province, to enable joint recovery of the bodily remains of soldiers, and enable the establishment of an inter-Korean road within the joint recovery site.[8]




The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from “Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Statement of North Korea, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), New York, UN doc. A/53/pv79, 4 December 1998, pp. 8–9.

[2] Email from Kerry Brinkert, Director, Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit, 1 February 2006.

[4]S. Korea's first mine-clearing tank wins battle suit,” Aju Business Daily, 9 July 2018.

[6]Koreas finish removing land mines from border village,” Associated Press, 22 October 2018.

[7] “Two Koreas Complete Mine Removal in JSA,” KBS World Radio, 19 October 2018.

[8] Agreement on the Implementation of the Historic Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain, Song Young- moo and No Kwang Chol, 19 September 2018, Annex 3, p. 9.