In a compromise which will avert an erupting controversy threatening the Korean peninsula, South Korea has agreed to cease propaganda broadcasts along the 38th parallel. In return, Pyongyang has accepted the South’s demand the North retire from its military high alert.
As part of the agreement, North Korea has expressed “regret” over a blast in July which disabled two South Korean infantrymen as landmines exploded on a footpath frequented by sentries patrolling the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
While expressing “regret,” North Korea did not acknowledge placing the landmines.
“South and North Korea agreed to hold a government meeting in Seoul or Pyongyang at an early date so that they can have dialogue and negotiations on various issues to improve relations,” said Kim Kwan-jin, South Korean National Security Advisor.
Additionally, North Korea has agreed to resume receptions between Korean family members isolated since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The reunions, a symbol of rapprochement between the two nations, have been held intermittently over the past thirty years; however, such gatherings have been held hostage by the totalitarian North.
Pyongyang was relieved to avoid engaging in a war that they know is unwinnable.
Despite the two countries remaining bitterly in earnest against one another and talks rarely producing wholesome results, the Panmunjom meeting did yield an important consensus: The re-union of long-separated family which will produce a brief moment of elation for many.
[New York Times] [Photo courtesy Stuff.co.nz ]