North, South Korea Agree to Quell Tensions

PHOTO: Kim Jong-un supervises an expanded meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea in Pyongyang on Feb. 18, 2015.PlayKCNA/Reuters
WATCH North Korean Army Put on 'Quasi State of War'

Following days of tension, North and South Korea agreed today to end a standoff following heightened military escalation on both sides of the border, officials said.

North Korea plans to lift its semi-state of war and expressed "regret" for causing injuries of South Korean soldiers from a landmine blast on August 4, a key demand of South Korea.

In return, South Korea, starting on Tuesday, will cease anti-North Korean broadcasts from loudspeakers along the border on condition of no abnormal situations, said Kim Kwan-jin, director of National Security at South Korea’s Presidential office.

The deal came after more than 43 hours of negotiations with North Korea’s Hwang Pyong-so, considered the North’s second-most powerful man in the military, and Kim Yang-gon, the top official in charge of inter-Korean relations for Pyongyang, at the truce village in Panmunjom.

“We progressed the negotiations with patience” to defuse military tensions that was at its height and to improve relations, Kim said.

More talks are to continue in either Seoul or Pyongyang in the near future, officials said.

The meeting follows a series of events that led to one of the most serious escalations of military crisis in five years on the Korean peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had ordered “quasi-state of war” and South Korea raised its military readiness to its highest level after the two Koreas fired artillery shells across their heavily-fortified border on Thursday over loudspeaker systems that broadcast anti-North Korean messages from the southern side.

South Korea had accused the North of firing first; the North had flatly denied the allegations. The exchange of fire did not result in any damages or injuries as both fell on uninhabited areas.

ABC News' Yeon-joo Lee contributed to this report.

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