South and North Korea reach agreement after talks

The speakers will be silenced at midday on Tuesday, at which time the North will lift a “semi-war state” declared last week by leader Kim Jong-Un. The final meeting began on Sunday evening after a hiatus in the late afternoon that invited speculation of a political impasse.


The North also fired artillery shells across the border last Thursday, prompting South Korea to fire back dozens of shells. Observers said the messages could travel about 12 miles at night and about half that during the day, well into North Korean territory.

In exchange the South will stop broadcasting propaganda over the border at noon (local time) on Wednesday.

Kim said the two Koreas have also agreed to resume reunions of families separated by war in September. The official also said the North had doubled the strength of its front-line artillery forces since the start of the talks.

Tensions continued to rise as the discussions were taking place, with South Korean and US jets flying simulated bombing runs, and North Korea reportedly deploying two thirds of its 70-vessel submarine fleet.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declined an invitation to attend a military parade commemorating China’s victory over Japan during World War II, a diplomatic source told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency Monday.

Meanwhile, South Korean police are investigating online rumours, including that of a gun battle at the truce line which killed 190 North Koreans and a South Korean.

The US, which has 28,500 soldiers based in South Korea, has been conducting annual joint military exercises with the South. North Korea regularly condemns the manoeuvres as a preparation for war.

“We need a clear apology and measures to prevent a recurrence of these provocations and tense situations.”, said South Korean President Park Geun-hye, regarding a landmine attack allegedly by North Korea.

JoongAng Ilbo noted that “consumers remain deaf to (the) threat of war” and that the only report of panic in Seoul came from a North Korean propaganda website, which claimed that people were stockpiling necessities in Incheon city and flooding the airport there.

The standoff exacerbated the turmoil in South Korea’s financial markets, triggering a market sell-off that sent the Korean won to a four-year low and drained more than $900 million from Korean equities in a week.

North Korea has been hit with United Nations and U.S. sanctions because of repeated nuclear and missile tests, moves that Pyongyang sees as an attack on its sovereign right to defend itself.


In 2004, South Korea and North Korea reached an agreement to dismantle their propaganda loudspeakers at the border.