North and South Koreas sign agreement to resolve tensions


North and South Korea have reached an agreement that aims to resolve escalating tensions across the Korean Peninsula.

Signed after days of intensive high-level talks in the border village of Panmunjom, the agreement will see Seoul halt its loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts into North Korea.

The broadcasts were started by the country after a landmine explosion on the south side's area of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) along the military demarcation line (MDL) earlier this month that wounded two of its soldiers.

Seoul accused Pyongyang of staging the blasts, but the North Korea initially denied the allegations. The country has since expressed regret over the blasts, without taking responsibility for them.

Under the agreement, North Korea has agreed to lift its 'semi-state of war,' pulling back soldiers deployed to the frontline.

"We expect the two sides will implement the agreement in good faith and create trust through dialogue and cooperation."

The two countries have also agreed to work towards reuniting families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as restoring NGO exchanges in various fields.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye national security adviser Kim Kwan-jin was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying that Pyongyang expressed remorse over its provocations and vowed to prevent their recurrence.

Kwan-jin said: "We expect the two sides will implement the agreement in good faith and create trust through dialogue and cooperation."

The two Koreas had exchanged artillery fire across the border last week. Seoul also placed its military services on the highest alert level after the North reportedly mobilised troops and military equipment to the border.

In addition to signing the deal, the two sides have agreed to hold multi-faceted dialogue and negotiations aimed at improving inter-Korean relations in either Seoul or Pyongyang at an early date.