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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
The South Korean military has suspended broadcasts of propaganda from loudspeakers on the inter-Korean border, the country’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Monday.
The defense ministry said the decision was made to “ease military tensions between the South and the North and to create the atmosphere for the peaceful talks on the occasion of 2018 inter-Korean summit.”
“We’ve halted loudspeaker broadcasts against the North near the military demarcation line (MDL) as of 12 am today (April 23),” the MND said in a written statement.
The decision to switch off the loudspeakers comes five days ahead of a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“We expect that this measure will lead to the suspension of mutual slander and the propaganda activities between the South and North and the achievement of making ‘Peace, A New Start,'” it continued – a reference to the Moon administration’s official slogan for the summit.
The ROK military late last year toned down criticism of Pyongyang in the broadcasts, with the Moon administration reportedly ordering the department in charge of psychological operations (PSYOP) to remove mentions of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un from the announcements.
The full-scale halt comes over two years after the Park Geun-hye administration’s resumption of propaganda broadcasts in January 2016: a response to Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test.
The Park administration had previously agreed to suspend the broadcasts in August the previous year, following their resumption in response to a landmine blast which had severely injured two South Korean soldiers.
Monday’s announcement follows Kim Jong Un’s announcement on Friday that Pyongyang no longer needed to conduct missile or nuclear tests – and that it would close a major testing site.
The South Korean presidential office on Saturday welcomed the decision, describing it as “significant progress for the denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.”
“It will also contribute to creating a very positive atmosphere for the success of the inter-Korean and the North-U.S.summit which will take place soon,” South Korean Presidential Senior Secretary for Public Relations Yoon Young-chan said.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Hojusaram, Edited by NK News