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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

16:00 November 20, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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S. Korea decides to spend 1.95 bln won to transform DMZ guard post into museum

SEOUL, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- The government decided Monday to spend 1.95 billion won (US$1.76 million) to transform a guard post on the border with North Korea into a museum underscoring inter-Korean reconciliation efforts and honoring soldiers killed during the Korean War.

The guard post at Arrowhead Ridge inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has since been used as a place to display items unearthed from the former battlefield under a project to uncover remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 war.

On Monday, a civilian-government committee on inter-Korean exchanges decided to remodel the outdated guard post into a museum to honor fallen soldiers and help people better understand the need for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, the unification ministry said.

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N. Korea unlikely to ease border control 'for the time being': ministry official

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is unlikely to ease its border restrictions "for the time being" as it appears to remain on high alert against COVID-19 and to be seeking tougher preventive measures, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

On Monday, the North's state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un held a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and stressed the need to "keep a high alert, build a tight blocking wall and further intensify the anti-epidemic work."

"Recently, there was some media speculation that the border closure between the North and China will be lifted, but the North has taken tougher virus preventive measures as seen in the politburo meeting," the ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

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S. Korea to formally propose talks with N. Korea if pandemic wanes: minister

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young said Wednesday he will make a formal offer for talks with North Korea once the coronavirus pandemic wanes, saying that he is ready for "the best dialogue."

Lee made the remarks during an interview with broadcaster KBS as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to focus on cooperating with allies and working-level diplomacy to deal with North Korea's nuclear program.

"I am ready to exchange the best dialogue at any place and at any time if North Korea accepts the offer. I plan to make a formal proposal to North Korea for talks once the COVID-19 situation eases," the minister said.

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S. Korea to wrap up this year's war remains excavation work inside DMZ

SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will wrap up this year's war remains excavation work at a former battlefield on the border with North Korea, the defense ministry said Thursday, with Pyongyang remaining unresponsive to calls to work together as agreed.

Under a military tension reduction accord signed Sept. 19, 2018, South and North Korea agreed to launch a joint project to retrieve remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War from Arrowhead Ridge, one of the fiercest battlefields inside the Demilitarized Zone separating the two sides.

But the South carried out the work alone since last year as the North has stonewalled calls for joint work. Excavation work is carried out usually between April and November, and this year's work is scheduled to end Friday.
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