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4. Inter-Korean Ties Return to State of Dialogue after Near Crisis

2015-12-28

4. Inter-Korean Ties Return to State of Dialogue after Near Crisis
Inter-Korean ties in 2015 resembled a rollercoaster ride as the two Koreas came close to a serious crisis before returning to a state of dialogue.

Strained South-North relations saw further confrontation due to the North’s land mine explosions on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on August fourth. The explosions maimed two soldiers.

In response, on August tenth the South’s military resumed anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts at the border for the first time in eleven years.

The North Korean military strongly protested the move, firing artillery at South Korean military loudspeakers in the western front across the DMZ on August 20. The South Korean military fired back and issued its highest level of alert.

A day after the exchange of fire, North Korea declared a near state of war in the border region, raising military tensions to the highest level.

However, the two sides were able to overcome such tensions through dialogue.

The two Koreas sat down for their first official high-level talks in a year and a half at the truce village of Panmunjeom. After four days of negotiations, they produced a six-point agreement on August 25.

Military tensions were eased after the North lifted its semi-state of war and the South suspended propaganda broadcasts.

In line with the August 25 accord, the two Koreas held a reunion of separated families between October 20 and 26 at Mount Geumgang. Nongovernmental exchanges also picked up and the South’s provision of aid to the North resumed.

However, dialogue between government officials has yet to see progress.

The two Koreas held vice-ministerial talks at the North’s border city of Gaeseong on December eleventh. However, the two sides failed to produce significant results as they remained at wide odds over family reunions and resuming tours to Mount Geumgang.

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