After three days of talks and a standoff that escalated into an exchange of artillery fire, North and South Korea have come to a detente.
South Korea has agreed to stop blaring propaganda from speakers across the border and the North has agreed to lift its semi-war status.
Reporting from Seoul, Haeryun Kang filed this update for our Newscast unit:
“South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye said the deal ‘could serve as an occasion to resolve all inter-Korean issues through trust.’ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has yet to release an official statement.
“In the deal, North Korea expresses regret for the two South Korean soldiers maimed by landmines. In return, South Korea will stop broadcasting propaganda by the border.
“South Korean Defense advised foreign journalists today not to call the border broadcasts ‘propaganda’, but the ‘Voice of Hope.’ These loudspeakers broadcast news, weather, K-pop and information about the Kim Jong Un regime. Seoul argues that Pyongyang initiated last week’s gunfire exchange because of these loudspeakers. The new agreement doesn’t mention who was directly responsible for the recent military standoff.”
Reuters reports that both sides began “rolling back heightened military postures.”
The agreement is also significant because relations between the two countries have been frozen since 2010, when a South Korean ship was sunk, killing 46 sailors. This could mark an opening.
Reuters reports that with this agreement:
“‘They both made compromises. South Korea did not get an apology, they got a statement of regret about the injury, which they can spin as an apology,’ said John Delury of Yonsei University in Seoul.
“‘The more important point is maintaining this channel and reopening the relationship. This is hardly going to be easy to implement, but it’s a landmark agreement which lays out a path.’
“Seoul and Pyongyang have remained technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.”