Tensions ease after North Korea ‘regrets’ blasts

South Korea says it has agreed to halt propaganda broadcasts after North Korea expressed regret over a recent land mine blast that maimed two South Korean troops.

South Korea says it has agreed to halt propaganda broadcasts after North Korea expressed regret over a recent land mine blast that maimed two South Korean troops.

South Korean presidential security adviser Kim Kwan-jin made the announcement in a televised briefing, after more than 30 hours of talks with North Korea ended.

The talks were the second round of negotiations the rival Koreas began on Saturday after events at their heavily guarded border pushed them to the brink of a possible military confrontation.

Mr Kim says the two Koreas have also agreed to hold talks to improve their ties soon in either Seoul or Pyongyang.

During the talks at the border village of Panmunjom, North Korea also agreed to lift a ‘‘quasi-state of war’’ that it had declared last week, chief South Korean negotiator and presidential security adviser Kim Kwan-jin told a televised briefing.

Mr Kim said the two Koreas have also agreed to resume reunions of families separated by war in September.

He said the countries will hold talks to improve their ties soon in either Seoul or Pyongyang.

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

The announcement came after the second round of negotiations the rivals began on Saturday after events at their heavily guarded border pushed them towards a possible military confrontation.

Both sides had wanted a face-saving way to avoid an escalation that could lead to bloodshed, especially the North, which is outmatched militarily by Seoul and its ally, the US.

The news came after South Korean president Park Geun-hye yesterday said that without a clear North Korean apology for the mine attack that maimed two soldiers, the anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts that infuriate the North would continue.

Even as the two countries held talks, South Korea’s military said North Korea continued to prepare for a fight


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