2 Koreas Defuse Tensions After Marathon Talks

      August 25, 2015 09:40

      South and North Korea reached a deal to defuse tensions early Tuesday morning after more than 40 hours of negotiations.

      Returning to Seoul from the border village of Panmunjom, presidential national security adviser Kim Kwan-jin told reporters that North Kora expressed regret over a box mine attack in the demilitarized zone that maimed two South Korean soldiers and promised to make efforts that such provocations do not recur.

      South Korea in turn promised to stop propaganda broadcasts across the border on Tuesday afternoon.

      The two sides also agreed to hold talks early next month to arrange for a fresh round of reunions of families separated since the Korean War and discuss other inter-Korean projects.

      High-ranking officials from two Koreas including the South Korean presidential national security adviser, Kim Kwan-jin (2nd from the left) and North Korea's Army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so (3rd from the left), pose for a photo after a meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom on early Tuesday morning. /Newsis

      The high-level talks took four days and lasted into the early morning hours of Tuesday and came amid North Korean leader Kim Jong-un putting the country's army on a "war footing."

      The main sticking point was North Korea's extreme reluctance to apologize for laying the mines along the heavily-armed border. Until the last minute the North denied any involvement in the face of all the evidence.

      At one point the North apparently agreed to the wording of the statement but then came up with a new set of demands Kim reviewed the agreement.

      A high-ranking government official here said, "North Korea wanted a promise from the South to permanently end the propaganda broadcasts."

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