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Seoul: North Korea artillery withdrawal being discussed 'internally'

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korean artillery guns facing the South are being discussed in Seoul. File Photo by KCNA/EPA
North Korean artillery guns facing the South are being discussed in Seoul. File Photo by KCNA/EPA

June 25 (UPI) -- South Korea's prime minister said Monday Seoul is looking into ways to ask North Korea to move its long-range artillery away from the front lines, but added the issue has yet to be addressed.

Lee Nak-yeon, speaking at a ceremony in Seoul commemorating the 68th anniversary of the 1950-53 Korean War, was addressing reports last week that suggested the issue of North Korean artillery was raised at inter-Korea talks at Panmunjom.

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"There are ongoing discussions regarding the withdrawal of North Korea artillery near the ceasefire line," Lee said Monday, according to News 1.

Lee's office followed up the statement confirming the artillery issue is being discussed "internally" but it has yet to be raised with the North Koreans.

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The prime minister also said at the ceremony the United States and South Korea have decided to suspend joint military exercises and the North and South agreed to reunite 100 individuals from each side during a family reunion late August.

Last week South Korea's military denied artilleries were brought up at the inter-Korea talks at the border, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

North Korea is believed to have 170-mm self-propelled artillery guns with a range of nearly 40 miles and 240-mm multiple rocket launchers.

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In total, North Korea has about 16-20 battalions that each combine artillery guns and multiple rocket launchers stationed on its side of the border.

The guns face South from 300-400 gun posts, according to News 1.

Lee also said Monday he has confirmation North Korea is in the process of repatriating the remains of U.S. troops from the Korean War.

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Seoul plans to cooperate with the North to find remains along the heavily guarded demilitarized zone, he said.

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