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Eased military tensions soften inter-Korean relations
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Seoul actively communicated with related countries throughout the escalated tension after North Korea’s land mine attack and gave prior notification to its partners immediately after the agreement with Pyongyang was sealed.
The U.S. had grown increasingly anxious about North Korean intentions after leader Kim Jong Un put a specific deadline on the table for South Korea to stop the propaganda broadcasts it has been blasting across the border.
The last time the two countries exchanged fire was last October, after North Korea fired on South Korean balloons that were dropping propaganda materials near the border.
Although the North realized inter-Korean talks after starting a crisis, the agreement resulting from the standoff seems to have reflected South Korea’s wishes to a considerable degree.
The diffusion of tensions occurred nearly exactly one year after the Pope visited South Korea, aiming to promote reconciliation between the North and South, which have officially been at war since 1950. The two sides also agreed to pull back forces that have advanced on both sides of the demilitarized zone in recent days.
“Definitely they’ve a missile that may attain Hawaii or U.S. amenities within the Pacific, so that is what we’re most fearful about”, Welsh stated Monday about North Korea throughout media briefing, based on the. The messages criticized North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s notoriously closed-off political system.
In their agreement reached just after midnight on Tuesday, the two sides pledged to hold talks to discuss a range of issues on improving ties.
“We’ll lower the alert posture once we’ve confirmed that North Korea has actually called off its quasi-state of war”, said a Ministry of National Defense official.
Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift said that he was “very encouraged by the latest indication of the Republic of Korea and North Korea talking together; clearly the way forward is dialogue”.
“What’s important here”, he added, “is that the two sides did get together, they did come to an agreement that they both found mutually satisfactory”. The idea for a giant soundsystem assault was originally proposed by two South Korean soldiers who were badly injured by a North Korean box mine accident near the DMZ.
On Tuesday, the two sides also agreed to arrange reunions of families separated by the Korean War during upcoming autumn holidays and in future.
Despite South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s expression of hope that the North’s “regret” will help improve the Koreas’ relationship, the accord does little to address many fundamental, long-standing differences.
While the military did halt its broadcasts, it reportedly has no plans to disassemble the loudspeakers used for them. Officials would not offer additional details, but the concern has always been that North Korean artillery could hit population center in the South such as Seoul.
Pyongyang seems to be extremely apprehensive that such propaganda will let its frontline soldiers and ordinary people know about the South’s economic superiority and the problems involved in the North’s iron-fisted dictatorship.