SKorea ends border propaganda after deal
Koreas step back from brink of conflict by setting in motion agreement reached during four-day border talks

South Korea switched off provocative border broadcasts as planned at noon Tuesday, hours after reaching a breakthrough in marathon inter-Korean talks.

At around 1 a.m., (0400GMT) a deal was struck between Seoul and Pyongyang representatives in their first high-level dialogue since last year.

The deal called for North Korea to express regret over a landmine explosion on the two countries’ shared border, an agreement for the South to stop propaganda broadcasts at midday Tuesday that the North considers insulting to its leader, talks to improve ties, and reunions of families separated by the Korean War.

Both sides quickly played their part, as the South called time on its loudspeaker campaign while Pyongyang came out of its self-declared semi-war state.

The border broadcasts had been at the heart of tensions that had seen both sides mobilize full-scale military capabilities from fighter jets to submarines.

North Korea, with its notoriously strict control of information, had not faced an onslaught of officially sanctioned propaganda from South Korea for more than a decade.

Seoul's psychological warfare was a response to landmine explosions that left two South Korean soldiers seriously wounded earlier this month -- such was the North's fury at being held accountable that it triggered an exchange of artillery fire before issuing an ultimatum for the loudspeakers to be silenced.

Hastily arranged, if not swiftly completed, talks followed.

Another key point to come out of Tuesday's agreement was North Korea's expression of "regret" for the Aug. 4 landmine blasts.

Though it was not the clear apology demanded by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, she expressed hope via a spokesperson later in the morning that "the deal could serve as an occasion to resolve all inter-Korean issues through trust."

Pyongyang has reneged on cooperation plans in the past, and the next test for inter-Korean relations will be their bilateral vow to arrange reunions next month for elderly family members separated by the Korean border -- many of whom have not seen each other since before the 1950-53 Korean War.

- Full text of deal between South and North Korea released by North's state news agency KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY on Tuesday.

1. The north and the south agreed to hold talks between their authorities in Pyongyang or Seoul at an early date to improve the north-south ties and have multi-faceted dialogue and negotiations in the future.

2. The north side expressed regret over the recent mine explosion that occurred in the south side's area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), wounding soldiers of the south side.

3. The south side will stop all loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts along the MDL from 12.00, Aug. 25 unless an abnormal case occurs.

4. The north side will lift the semi-war state at that time.

5. The north and the south agreed to arrange reunions of separated families and relatives from the north and the south on the occasion of the Harvest Moon Day this year and continue to hold such reunions in the future, too and to have a Red Cross working contact for it early in September.

6. The north and the south agreed to vitalize NGO exchanges in various fields.

Last Modified: 2015-08-25 10:39:56
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