China / Society

China demines areas bordering Vietnam to keep residents safe

( Updated: 2015-09-11 16:30

China demines areas bordering Vietnam to keep residents safe

Chinese peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon participate in a minesweeping mission. File photo

Chinese soldiers will clear landmines in areas bordering Vietnam to keep local residents safe and facilitate the border areas' openness to develop their economy. The demining is expected to be completed in late 2017.

The 13 counties and prefectures involved, including Fangcheng Port, Chongzuo city and Baise city in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Southwest China's Wenshan and Honghe prefectures, are all located in subtropical mountain and jungle areas, which make the mine clearance difficult and dangerous, reported Xinhua news agency.

The minefield, which has different kinds of landmines such as anti-tank mines and anti-infantry mines, was reportedly formed during a brief border conflict with Vietnam in 1979, and is a rare, particularly high-density one, said experts.

Soldiers from Chengdu Military Area Command, Guangzhou Military Area Command, Guangxi Military Area Command and Yunnan Provincial Military Area Command will take on the operations and many of them used to participate in the mine clearances operations of UN peacekeeping missions.

The mine clearance, which started in August, also takes into consideration water resources and local ecology to protect the border areas. Besides, if detonations need to be performed when demining, Chinese soldiers will report to the relevant authorities in Vietnam in accordance with agreements between the two countries.

This is not the first time that Chinese soldiers carried out mine clearances in the border areas between China and Vietnam.

Two large-scale mine clearances were organized by the Chinese government in the 1990s, in 1992-1994 and 1997-1999, since many people living near the highly dense minefields have been seriously injured after stepping on landmines.

Around 6,000 people, aged between eight and 84, have been injured or disabled in Wenshan prefecture, 600 meters away from the frontier at the nearest, since 1979 after stepping on the landmines, which also killed a number of wild animals and livestock, reported in 2011.

In Funing county of Wenshan prefecture, one or two people are still hurt every year by landmines, despite many mine clearance projects and warnings and fences set up around mine fields and its Tianpeng village, 600 meters from the China-Vietnam border, was once infamous in China for having "87 villagers with only 78 legs", according to

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