Sixty-four years after the end of its war with the U.S., North Korea continues to dig up thousands of bombs, mortars and pieces of live ammunition, most of it American. One bomb-squad member says he’s lost five colleagues to explosions in his 10 years at the job. Maj. Jong Il Hyon bears a scar on his left cheek from a disposal mission gone wrong. He says he doubts experts who say cleanup will take 100 years. He thinks it will take longer.
Jong’s unit, one of nine of its kind in North Korea, has disposed of about 1,200 explosives this year alone.
Virtually every major North Korea city was severely damaged in the Korean War, and hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed by U.S. saturation bombing.