North and South Korea’s agreement to reduce tensions already under strain
(4 September 2015)
On 24 August 2015, North and South Korea reached an agreement to reduce tensions between the two countries after two days of negotiations. Relations between the countries were strained in August because of injuries two South Korean soldiers suffered in a landmine incident, and South Korea’s response that included propaganda broadcasts from the border area. Tensions further increased after the two countries exchanged artillery fire in the border region.
North and South Korea agreed to hold follow-up talks, and South Korea’s national security advisor Kim Kwan-jin said that, “It is very meaningful that from this meeting North Korea apologised for the landmine provocation and promised to work to prevent the recurrence of such events and ease tensions.” The agreement also included provisions to discuss potential family reunifications.
However, less than two weeks after the agreement, the countries are disputing comments made by the other side yet again. North Korea has critiqued comments made by South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye thanking China for its role in mediating the negotiations. In response, a spokesperson representing the North Korean Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea said that, “If the South Korean authorities persist in... peddling the internal issues of the nation abroad, North-South relations will slip back into the evil cycle of confrontation.” Similar verbal disputes in the past have increased tensions between the two countries.
North and South Korean officials reach deal after talks, 24 August 2015, ITV News, http://www.itv.com/news/story/2015-08-24/north-and-south-korean-officials-reach-deal-after-talks/
North and South Korea back to squabbling after peace accord, 4 September 2015, FirstPost, http://www.firstpost.com/world/north-and-south-korea-back-to-squabbling-after-peace-accord-2421172.html