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Korea, South

Last Updated: 20 January 2015

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

The Korean War left mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in southern Korea, and because of a security threat, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) laid barrier minefields along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating it from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north.

The DMZ and the Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) immediately adjoining the southern boundary of the DMZ remain among the most heavily mined areas in the world due to extensive mine-laying during the Korean War and in the 1960s, in 1978, and in 1988. In May 2006, South Korea indicated that about 970,000 mines were emplaced in the southern part of the DMZ, about 30,000 mines in the CCZ, and about 8,000 mines in 25 military sites that cover an area of about 3km2 in the northern parts of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon provinces, below the CCZ.[1]

A report by the National Defense Committee in 2010 said South Korea had about 1,100 “planned” mined areas covering 20km2 and some 209 unconfirmed or suspected mined areas covering 97.82km2.[2]

Mine Action Program

There is no national mine action authority or mine action center in South Korea. Demining is conducted by the South Korean army, which has undertaken limited clearance of the DMZ and CCZ and has concentrated mostly on demining military bases in rear areas.

In November 2013, the Ministry of Defense said it had submitted a bill on landmines to the parliament to allow civilian organizations to remove mines laid during the Korean War to facilitate ongoing military clearance. “The bill is aimed at making legal grounds and a process to allow both the military and civilians to remove mines so as to protect lives and the property of people,” the ministry said in a press release.[3]

(file last updated in August 2014)


[1]  Response to the Monitor by the Permanent Mission of South Korea to the UN, New York, 9 May 2006.

[2] Kim Chang-Hoon, “Find One Million: War With Landmines,” Korea Times, 3 June 2010.

[3]S. Korea pushes to allow civilians to remove land mines,” Yonhap (news agency), 14 November 2013.