UXO clearance coordination realises Vietnam-RoK agreements hinh anh 1Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh (R) and KOICA Vietnam Country Director Chang Jae-yun (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)’s assistance to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) has cemented agreements between the two countries, KOICA Vietnam Country Director Chang Jae-yun said.

At a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh held in Hanoi on December 7, he said a KOICA delegation was conducting a survey of areas contaminated with post-war landmines and UXOs in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Tri, the Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) daily reported.

Chang said it is the second survey conducted by KOICA in Vietnam, adding that he hopes local agencies will provide favourable conditions for his organisation’s surveys and working visits, ultimately accelerating the clearance of post-war bombs and landmines.

Sen. Lt. Gen. Vinh, who is also the head of the standing board for the State Steering Committee for the national action programme on settling post-war bomb and landmine impacts, highly valued the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s cooperation in the field.

He called on more RoK organisations to work with Vietnamese agencies to speed up UXO clearance to ensure the safety of local residents.

Preliminary statistics show that UXOs have claimed more than 42,000 lives and left about 62,000 injured - mostly rural people and children - in Vietnam over the last four decades.

The US army used more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines during the war in Vietnam, four times the amount used in World War II. As a result, Vietnam has been listed among the countries most contaminated with UXOs.

According to the State Steering Committee, about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs are scattered across 6.6 million hectares or 20.12 percent of Vietnam’s land, mainly in the central region.-VNA