Koreas take first steps of reconcilation this week

SEOUL, April 30 (UPI) — South Korea plans to scrap dozens of loudspeakers placed along its border with North Korea, which blasts South Korean music and news reports critical of Pyongyang, following the two Koreas’ historic summit held on Friday.

Seoul’s defense ministry said Monday that Seoul will begin removing the loudspeakers from Tuesday, in accordance with the Panmunjom Declaration reached between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The two leaders agreed to end hostile acts along their border and work to reduce military tensions between the two sides.

The loudspeakers had been turned off last week, ahead of the summit talks, with the North reciprocating the move.

South Korea began blasting propaganda broadcasts into the North in May 1963. Seoul stopped the broadcasts in 2000, when the two Koreas held their first summit, Yonhap reported.

However, the loudspeakers were reactivated in 2015 after the North caused the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan naval vessel, killing dozens of sailors. The broadcasts were suspended again the same year.

They resumed in January 2016, in response to the North’s fourth nuclear test.

On Monday, Seoul also announced that North Korea would match its standard time with South Korea’s beginning Thursday, in a reconciliatory move.

Kim Jong Un reportedly told Moon that the North would wind the clock forward by half an hour to “unify” its time with the South’s, News 1 reported.

The North had decided to launch its own standard Pyongyang time in Aug. 2015, saying that the Korean Standard Time had been imposed by Japanese imperialists in the early 1900s.