North Korea says it defused US Korean War bombs at Pyongyang apartment site

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) - Workers at an apartment construction site in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, have discovered more than 110 bombs, shells, mines, grenades and other explosives that it says are U.S.-made weapons from the Korean War, state media said on Friday.

The devices were detected and disposed of by experts with the Pyongyang City Public Security Bureau, state news agency KCNA reported.

"The explosives, found at the housing construction site in the Hwasong area, were rusty but at risk of going off at any time," the report said.

Leader Kim Jong Un has launched projects to build 50,000 new apartments in Pyongyang as part of a push to improve lives in the impoverished nation.

Its economy has been hammered by self-imposed border closures to curb COVID-19, natural disasters, and international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which the United States says draw limited resources away from meeting people's needs.

Explosives left over from the 1950-1953 Korean War have long been a danger to citizens in both Koreas. In past years, experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Weapon Contamination Unit have trained North Korean teams in bomb disposal.

During the Korean War, U.S. warplanes attacked wide swaths of the country, dropping more bombs on North Korea than the United States dropped in the entire Pacific theatre during World War II, according to U.S. researchers.

That bombing campaign and other attacks have been a prominent feature in education and government messaging in North Korea.

"Witnessing the disposal of explosives, the army and civilian builders felt surging hatred toward the U.S. imperialists," KCNA said in Friday's report.

(Reporting by Josh Smith. Editing by Gerry Doyle)