North, South Korea agree to defuse crisis after marathon talks

South Korean army soldiers ride on a truck in Paju, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. (File photo: AP)

North and South Korea have wrapped up marathon talks on Tuesday with an agreement aimed at defusing a crisis that had pushed the two rivals to the brink of armed conflict.

The South’s lead negotiator, National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-Jin, said that North Korea had agreed to a key demand to voice “regret” over recent mine blasts at the border that maimed two South Korean soldiers.

In response, South Korea has conditionally undertaken to halt loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts into the North.

The two also agreed to work towards resumption next month of reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, Kim told reporters.

The negotiations in the border truce village of Panmunjom had played out against a dangerous military stand-off, which triggered a rare artillery exchange over the border last week and saw North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un order his frontline troops onto a war-footing.

The talks had begun early Saturday evening, shortly after the passing of a North Korean deadline for Seoul to halt its propaganda broadcasts or face military action.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46