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Koreas Reach Agreement Following Marathon Talks

Koreas

North and South Korea’s envoys have reached a deal to defuse tensions on the peninsula, Yonhap news agency reports.

The agreement reportedly includes North Korea expressing “regret” over land mine attacks that wounded two soldiers from the South.

In exchange the South would stop broadcasting propaganda over the border.

The countries have also agreed to promote reunions of separated families.

The dispute, over South Korea’s anti-North propaganda broadcasts, had brought the two sides to the brink of armed conflict.

Both country’s militaries have been on alert following a brief exchange of fire at the border last Thursday.

South Korea’s national security adviser is due to announce a final bilateral agreement between North and South Korea at 2am local time (5pm GMT)

High levels North and South Korean negotiators have held talks in the border village of Panmunjom since Saturday, to agree a deal for ending the military standoff that has threatened to boil over into armed conflict.

Sky news reports:

Seoul has set up 11 sites where loudspeakers boom out anti-Pyongyang messages, news broadcasts and K-pop hits such as Gangnam Style across the border.

The South had refused to stop unless the North apologised for the land mine attacks – but North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un continually denied involvement.

A joint statement from the countries said there would now be follow-up meetings in Seoul or Pyongyang aimed at improving ties.

Any agreement illustrates a softened stance from both sides – and end the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea had made a series of claims that its neighbour was preparing for war by doubling the strength of its frontline artillery forces and dispatching 50 of its 70 submarines from their bases.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un admitted he was prepared to risk “all-out war” unless Seoul halted its propaganda broadcasts.

The decision to hold talks came just hours before a Saturday deadline set by Mr Kim for the South to dismantle its loudspeakers.

North Korean state media reported that more than one million young people have volunteered to join or rejoin the military to defend their country should war break out.