South Korea and North Korea reached a deal on Tuesday to ease military tensions after a four-day high-level talk, which kicked off on Aug. 24 in an effort to prevent full-fledged military conflict.
Through the joint statement, the North expressed regret over the injuries suffered by South Korean soldiers’ landmine blasts in the DMZ. The South halted its propaganda broadcasts as part of a deal to defuse tension.
During the talk, South Korea reportedly called for an apology from the North for the recent land mine provocation while the North demanded to stop the loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts, which were restarted in South in retaliation.
South Korean government is said to stress that the North should admit to the land mine provocation which seriously hurt two soldiers and should take preventive measure. They are taking hard-line stance, claiming it would not halt the broadcast unless the North displays sincere attitudes.
Industry watchers said North Korea's negotiating attitude has changed compared to the past when it used to stomp out of the table if the negotiation did not suit their taste. This time, they did not spoil the mood during the four-day marathon meeting and retained the talks as they do not have other alternatives besides the negotiation between the South and the North.
Lee Soo-seok, a chief of unification research team of the Institute for National Security Strategy, is quoted as saying by a local media outlet, "Once the negotiation fails, what the North, which declared military action, can do is to blow the loudspeaker only. In that case, the Korean-American military power will punish them in retaliation, which can lay the North's military in ashes."
"That will demoralize the North's military and damage Kim Jong-un's authority and leadership,” he added.
North Korean military may be strong at small-scale provocation but if there is an armed conflict among regular armies, the damage of the North military power will be much greater than that of South Korea.
The ongoing talks were said to be directed by both nations’ leaders - President Park Geun-hye and the North leader Kim Jong-un - through cameras installed at the Peace House at Panmunjom.
Park presided a meeting at Blue House on Monday, saying, "In order to prevent the repetitive provocation from the North, we should receive a sincere apology from the North. Otherwise, we will continue the loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts."