DPRK, RoK reach agreement to ease tensions

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) reached agreement early on August 25 to end a standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire that had pushed the divided peninsula into a state of heightened military tension.

Under the accord reached in the very early hours of August 25 after more than two days of talks, DPRK expressed regret over the recent wounding of RoK soldiers in landmine blasts and Seoul agreed to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, both sides said.

DPRK also agreed to end the "semi" state of war it had declared. The two sides will hold follow-up talks to discuss a range of issues on improving ties, the joint statement said.

"It is very meaningful that from this meeting DPRK apologized for the landmine provocation and promised to work to prevent the recurrence of such events and ease tensions," Kim Kwan-jin, national security adviser to RoK President Park Geun-hye, told a televised news briefing.

Pyongyang has previously denied laying the landmines, and in the statement did not explicitly take responsibility for them.

The marathon talks at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas began on August 22, shortly after Pyongyang's deadline for the South to halt its propaganda broadcasts or face military action.