South and North Korea agree to back down from war footing

“The latest inter-Korean agreement should be utilized as a chance to galvanize change and improve bilateral ties between the two Koreas”.


The North’s Korean Central News Agency also released the same details.

The announcement followed more than 30 hours of talks after events at their heavily guarded border pushed them to the brink of a possible military confrontation in what had become one of the tensest periods between Seoul and Pyongyang in recent history.

But the sudden escalation of military tensions in a region where tens of thousands of U.S. troops are based was as a reminder of the opacity and unpredictability of North Korea under its young leader, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has promised to cause no further provocation to the South and expressed “regret” for its actions, in a climbdown that is hoped will prevent war.

The Panmunjom talks began shortly after the expiration of a North Korean ultimatum to turn off the loudspeakers.

Family reunions are a pressing humanitarian issue on the divided Korean Peninsula, as most of the separated family members are in their 70s and 80s, and wish to see their long-lost relatives before they die.

The marathon nature of the talks was not unusual. After decades of animosity and bloodshed, finding common ground is a challenge. However, the talks ended with North Korea agreeing to end its “quasi state of war” in exchange for Seoul stopping the broadcasts.

Under the May 24th sanctions for the North’s deadly torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in 2010, Seoul has suspended all economic cooperation projects with Pyongyang except for the Kaesong industrial complex. The spokesperson also said Seoul would scale back its military alert status matching the situation.

The resort was a strong earner of hard currency, with 2 million South Korean visitors in total until July 2008, when all tours were suspended after a tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier, according to some reports, after the tourist wandered out of the designated area. Seoul responded by resuming anti-Pyongyang cross-border broadcasts for the first time in more than 10 years.

“Although the North did not offer a direct and clear apology, we need to compare the agreement this time with the North’s attitudes toward its past provocations”, the official said on background.

The agreement comes after weeks of military tensions between the two countries that began after the South accused the North of mine explosions at the border and restarted anti-North propaganda broadcasts.

“When North Korea did not show responsibility or demanded something unfair during the course of the dialogue and the negotiation, I mostly used a phrase that said ‘the people are watching, ‘” Hong said.


Director of National Security Kim Kwan-jin announces a six-point agreement drawn up after 43 hours of talks with his North Korean counterparts at 2:02 a.m. Tuesday at the Blue House following his return from discussions at the border village of Panmunjom.

South Korea border talks