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

Construction of LNG Canada plant still on hold

Construction will only begin following a positive final investment decision

VIDEO: Watch ex-Kitimat video director Stephano Barberis’ new reel, featuring his own new music

Breathe of My Leaves music project debuts ‘Chimera’ album of electronic sounds

Sulphur dioxide pollution over Kitimat could be eliminated after 2024

New process will eliminate SO2 as a byproduct

Kitimat, Terrace home sales up from 2017

Optimism surrounding a potentially positive LNG decision one of the factors

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Summit talk turns warmer; Trump says ‘talking to them now’

North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks

Harvey Weinstein turns himself in, arraigned on rape, criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges following allegations of sexual misconduct

Explosion at Mississauga restaurant sends 15 to hospital

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

Most Read