FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, a South Korean army soldier stands near the loudspeakers near the border area between South Korea and North Korea in Yeoncheon, South Korea. (Lim Tae-hoon/Newsis via AP, File)

South Korea to remove propaganda loudspeakers at border

South Korea said it will remove propaganda-broadcasting loudspeakers from the tense border with North Korea.

South Korea will remove propaganda-broadcasting loudspeakers from the border with North Korea this week, officials said Monday, as the rivals move to follow through with their leaders’ summit declaration that produced reconciliation steps without a breakthrough in the nuclear standoff.

During their historic meeting Friday at a Korean border village, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to end hostile acts against each other along their tense border, establish a liaison office and resume reunions of separated families. They also agreed to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, but failed to produce specific time frames and disarmament steps.

Seoul’s Defence Ministry said it would pull back dozens of its front-line loudspeakers on Tuesday before media cameras. Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyunsoo Seoul expects Pyongyang to do the same.

Related: Korean leaders pledge denuclearization in historic meeting

South Korea had already turned off its loudspeakers ahead of Friday’s summit talks, and North Korea responded by halting its own broadcasts.

The two Koreas had been engaged in Cold War-era psychological warfare since the North’s fourth nuclear test in early 2016. Seoul began blaring anti-Pyongyang broadcasts and K-Pop songs via border loudspeakers, and Pyongyang quickly matched the South’s action with its own border broadcasts and launches of balloons carrying anti-South leaflets.

Seoul’s announcement came a day after it said Kim told Moon during the summit that he would shut down his country’s only known nuclear testing site and allow outside experts and journalists to watch the process.

South Korean officials also cited Kim as saying he would be willing to give up his nuclear programs if the United States commits to a formal end to the Korean War and a pledge not to attack the North. Kim had already suspended his nuclear and missile tests while offering to put his nukes up for negotiations.

The closing of the Punggy-ri test site, where all six of North Korea’s atomic bomb tests occurred, could be an eye-catching disarmament step by Pyongyang. But there is still deep skepticism over whether Kim is truly willing to negotiate away the nukes that his country has built after decades of struggle and sacrifice.

According to a summit accord, Kim and Moon agreed to achieve “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization,” rather than clearly stating “a nuclear-free North Korea.” Pyongyang has long said the term “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” must include the United States pulling its 28,500 troops out of South Korea and removing its so-called “nuclear umbrella” security commitment to South Korea and Japan.

Kim could offer more disarmament concessions during his meeting with President Donald Trump, expected in May or June, but it’s unclear what specific steps he would take. Some experts say Kim may announce scraping North Korea’s long-range missile program, which has posed a direct threat to the United States.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton reacted coolly to word that Kim would abandon his weapons if the United States pledged not to invade.

Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” whether the U.S. would make such a promise, Bolton said: “Well, we’ve heard this before. This is — the North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource. What we want to see from them is evidence that it’s real and not just rhetoric.”

Kim’s meeting with Moon was his second summit with a foreign leader since he took office in late 2011. In March, he travelled to Beijing and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. While meeting with Xi, Kim suggested he prefers a step-by-step disarmament process in line with corresponding outside rewards, according to Chinese state media. U.S. officials want the North to take complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament measures.

China said Monday that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Pyongyang on Wednesday and Thursday.

China is the North’s only major economic partner, but trade has declined by about 90 per cent following Beijing’s implementation of economic sanctions imposed over the North’s nuclear and missile tests. Some analysts say Kim’s recent charm offensive was aimed at weakening the sanctions.

Related: World needs to be ‘careful’ about Korean peace deal, says Canadian minister

Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton’s choice to host 2021 Centennial Cup well grounded

The strength runs deep throughout the Vees organization and the city in landing Centennial Cup

Okanagan inmate charged in Princeton kidnapping gets second trial extension

Afshin Maleki Ighani said he was unprepared for trial due to issues around a full disclosure package

South Okanaga SPCA receives over $21,000 from Penticton fundraiser

Barry Zarudenec almost single handedly raised over $21,000 for the South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA

Ranchers help grow PRH

Ranching family’s roots recognized through PRH donation

PHOTOS: Kids get big thrill out of Indigo Circus in Penticton

Indigo Circus kicked off 36th season of the Children’s Showcase on Sunday

Charles wows them at iconic South Okanagan venue

Blues musician Michael Charles played to a sold-out crowd at the Dream Café Saturday

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Okanagan

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to Vernon Sunday

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Most Read