Agreement reached between North and South Korea
The two countries reached an agreement to end the standoff on early Tuesday morning. North Korea expressed regret over the wounding of the two soldiers and also agreed to end the "semi-war" state it had declared; South Korea consented to stop the loudspeaker propaganda warfare. The agreement has also paved a way for further initiatives to improve ties between the two nations.
Two South Korean soldiers were seriously injured in a deadly landmine explosion while on patrol along the demilitarised zone, on the North-South Korea border. The soldiers' legs were blown off and were rushed to the hospital for treatment. The mines blasted in the afternoon hours in the border area in the northern county of Yeoncheon. The blast was largely condemned in South Korea.
The demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea is a 4 km stretch dividing Korea into two at the 38th parallel put in place in 1953 as a ceasefire to the Korean War where military installations, activities or personnel are forbidden.
South Korea's military accused North Korea for planting land mines in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border. It termed the attack as a cowardly act of provocation and threatened retaliation against North Korea. South's military said that there was evidence that North Korean soldiers had crossed the Military Demarcation Line to plant the mines. This denunciation further raised tensions between the two nations.
The border has atleast a million mines, most of which were air-dropped in the 1960s at the height of a Cold War confrontation with the North.
North Korea denied any involvement in South Korea's landmine blasts. North's National Defense Commission called South's allegations "absurd". N. Korea said that the mines were for defensive purposes and if North really wanted to attack it would have used more powerful 'firearms and not three mines'. An investigation by South Korea and the US-led UN Command had declared that the mines were North Korean.
Retaliating to the mine attack, South Korea resumed its loudspeaker propaganda campaign along the heavily secure border between North Korea and South. South's ministry contended that the decision was in line with its dedication to "make North Korea pay the harsh cost for the landmine blast." This retaliation created ripples in the Korean politics with North Koreans being highly critical of it.
The loudspeaker broadcasts have been commonplace in Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War and were put to a stop in 2004 by the South Korean government.
South Korea was vociferously asked to halt the "anti-North propaganda broadcasts via loudspeakers along the border" by North Korea or face military action. Front Command of the Korean People's Army said that the "resumption of the broadcasting is a direct action of declaring a war against the DPRK". North has termed this as an 'anti-north psychological warfare' by South Korea.
The United Nations Command proposed talks with North Korea to discuss the recent land mine attack. The talks will resume dialogue between N.Korea and the UNC, international forces led by the U.S. responsible for keeping the armistice on the South Korean side. North neither accepted nor rejected the proposal; while South accepted the messages, it did not disclose if it was ready for talks.
Fire was exchanged between the two Korean nations on 21 August 2015 amidst North Korea's claims that it was 'fully ready for war'. Kim Jong-un warned South Korea that his troops would attack the South at 9.30 AM. US troops were mobilised in North Korea following Kim's threat. North Korea has warned the South to dismantle its propaganda speakers.