North and South Korea reach agreement

North and South Korea reach agreement
© Getty Images

North Korea and South Korea have reached an agreement to de-escalate tensions between both sides, according to South Korea's national security chief, Kim Kwan-jin. 

North Korea will apologize to South Korea for a land mine in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that seriously injured two South Korean soldiers, and South Korea will stop broadcasting propaganda across the DMZ, CNN reported.  

ADVERTISEMENT

North Korea was reported to have moved more than 50 warships over the weekend. 

The tension began several weeks ago, when the two South Korean soldiers were injured. South Korea began broadcasting propaganda with loudspeakers over the border for the first time in 11 years, prompting artillery shelling from North Korea, and counter-shelling from South Korea.

The flare-up occurred as the U.S. was conducting joint military exercises with South Korea, which already had U.S. forces on a heightened state of alert. After the shelling, the exercise was temporarily suspended. 

North Korea issued a Saturday deadline for the broadcasts to stop. Talks to de-escalate tensions began on Friday, and extended into Sunday. 

The State Department on Monday welcomed the agreement.

“Obviously it was a very tense several days and we’re mindful of that,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday at a press briefing.  

“Now it’s up to the North to act and not simply make assurances with respect to their own military activities there along the border," he said. “We hope that it will contribute to decreased tensions and we’ll just have to see how it plays out,” he said. 

The Pentagon said earlier on Monday it was closely monitoring the situation, and was in close contact with South Korea. 

"We remain committed to their defense," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. 

Davis said while the Pentagon had seen increased military activity in North Korea, it was not enough to cause alarm.  

 

-- Julian Hattem contributed.