After three day-marathon negotiations between high-level officials, South Korea agreed to halt its propaganda loudspeakers on the board, while North Korea ended the semi-state of war on August 25.
Last Thursday, the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire, and North Korea announced a semi-state of war the following day, criticizing the anti-Pyeongyang propaganda loudspeakers, which South Korea had restarted after 11 years of disuse when two soldiers were severely wounded by mines on the southern side of the Military Demarcation Line in the Demilitarized Zone.
Amid the sudden escalation of military tensions, last Saturday at the Panmunjom Truce Village a meeting was led by four high-level officials: Chief National Security Advisor to South Korean President Kim Kwan-Jin, South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-Pyo, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea, Kim Yang Gon, and Hwang Pyong-So, the top military aide to the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.
South and North Korea declared a joint statement to ease the recent tensions and improve their relationship at noon August 25.
In a statement, North Korea expressed “regret” over the land mine explosions. “It is very meaningful that at this meeting North Korea apologized for the landmine provocation and promised to work to prevent the recurrence of such events and ease tensions,” South Korea’s Kim Kwan-Jin told a televised news conference.
Moreover, the South and the North will plan for reunions of separated families next month. This will take place at the time when Koreans celebrate Chuseok, the Harvest Moon Festival.
However, North Korea expressed a different attitude five hours after promising to improve ties with the South during the talks. “Through North-South emergency high-level contact this time, the South must have learned a serious lesson that it will bring an armed clash if it creates a groundless case and provokes the other side,” Hwang Pyeong-So said on Korean Central Television.