South Korea to stop loudspeakers North Korea issues “regrets”

South Korea to stop loudspeakers North Korea issues “regrets”

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South Korea will stop anti-North Korea loudspeaker broadcasts on “condition of no abnormal situations,” as North Korea issues “regret” for recent “provocations” and promises they won’t recur, Yonhap News Agency said.
The agreement was part of a larger six-part agreement that will see the two Koreas step down from recent hostilities, and even work towards another round of family reunions.
The news, which came in the early hours of Tuesday morning Korean time, follows marathon inter-Korean talks which have continued since Saturday.During the talks the DPRK agreed to stop future provocations and hold working-level talks concerning family reunions in early September. North Korea also said it would step down from its current “semi-war” state.
The inter-Korean family reunions are currently scheduled to take place around the Chuseok holiday (Korean thanksgiving), with possible scope for the reunions to be a more frequent event.
A final clause allowed yet more room for future cooperation, indicating the two Koreas “will have more active private interchanges in diverse areas.”
The news was welcomed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who hoped the agreement would help avoid future rounds of confrontation.
“I highly appreciate the agreement to hold regular inter-Korean dialogue, and hope that this will serve as a mechanism to effectively manage any problems that may arise on the Korean Peninsula,” a press release issued by the UN today reads.
Others however were more skeptical that North Korea would avoid future confrontations, noting that Pyongyang stopped short of offering an apology on the mine blasts.
“North Korea has never issued an apology worthy of the name. The most it’s done is express ‘regret’ in the wake of the axe murder incident in August 1976 after Seoul and Washington put on a show of force,” Lee Sung-yoon, professor in Korean Studies at TUFTS University told NK News.
According to Lee, the reconciliation is part of a cycle, with many of North Korea’s largest provocations ” preceded by a smokescreen, a gesture of ‘peace’ and overture to talks.”
Prior to the announcement, some experts in Seoul expressed optimism the talks could lead to more dialogue between the two Koreas, though found it unlikely the DPRK would offer a full apology.
“The way out of this is to find a subterfuge that defuses the immediate conflict while charting a sustained path forward to keep channels open, expand cooperation, and build trust. That, after all, is Park’s own strategy of trustpolitik,” assistant professor at Yonsei University John Delury told NK News.
“(South Korean President) Park should be looking to move the whole conversation on so this kind of thing stops happening in future, rather than focusing on seeking backward-looking redress,” Aidan Foster-Carter, a long-time North Korea watcher and NK News contributor said.
Additional reporting by Leo Byrne – NK News

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