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Korea, North

Last Updated: 28 November 2013

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

Not a State Party

Pro-mine ban UNGA voting record

Abstained on Resolution 65/48 in December 2010, as in previous years

Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings

Has never attended international or regional mine meetings


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty and has not participated at all in efforts to ban antipersonnel mines. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have stated that North Korea supports the aims and objectives of the treaty, but is not ready to accede, given its complex security situation.[1] In May 2009, a Geneva-based North Korean official stated that North Korea “is not interested in engaging” on the mine issue.[2] 

North Korea is believed to have used very large numbers of mines in or near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with South Korea.[3] North Korea produced antipersonnel mines in the past, but no information is available on possible current production.[4] North Korea has exported mines, which have been found in Angola and Sudan, but there are no reports of recent transfers.[5] The size of North Korea’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines is not known, but it is probably substantial. North Korean-made copies of Soviet PMD-6 mines were found during the year on the shores of South Korean islands and along watersheds downstream from the DMZ in South Korea. Heavy rains and landslides moved the mines from their former locations causing casualties among civilians in South Korea.[6]

North Korea is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.


[1] Email from Kerry Brinkert, Director, Implementation Support Unit, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, 1 February 2006. In 1998, a government representative indicated that it supported the “humanitarian purposes and the nature of” the Mine Ban Treaty, but could not accede to it “for security reasons” given the circumstances on the Korean peninsula. Statement by Counselor Kim Sam Jong, Permanent Mission of North Korea to the UN, 4 December 1998; and “Official Records of the UN General Assembly, Fifty-third Session, 79th plenary meeting” (New York: UN General Assembly [UNGA], 4 December 1998), A/53/pv79, pp. 8–9.

[2] Telephone interview with official at the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the UN in Geneva, 27 May 2009.

[3] Kim Ki-ho, Director, Korean Research Institute for Mine Clearance, estimated two million mines set at two-meter intervals on the northern side of the DMZ. “South Korea’s Uphill Battle Against Land Mines,” Voice of America (Seoul Bureau), 9 March 2010.

[4] North Korea has produced Model 15 fragmentation mines and APP M-57 blast mines. See Eddie Banks, Brassey’s Essential Guide to Anti-Personnel Landmines (London: Brassey’s, 1997), p. 164; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance 2004–2005 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2005), p. 211.

[5] Colin King, ed., Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance 2004–2005 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2005), p. 211.

[6] “1 killed, 1 injured in explosion near border town between S Korea, DPRK,” Xinhua, 1 August 2010, news.xinhuanet.com; and “3 mines found swept away from North,” Korea JoongAng Daily, 29 June 2011, joongangdaily.joins.com.