All’s quiet in the DMZ

Actually, that title is literally true; as part of a deal announced today to deescalate recent tension on the Korean peninsula, South Korea agreed to stop blasting anti-North Korea propaganda via loudspeaker across the DMZ. In return, North Korea expressed “regret” over the fact that two South Korean soldiers were injured in a mine blast in the DMZ earlier this month. South Korean officials wanted an apology and an admission by the North that they were responsible for planting the mine that exploded, but they settled for a statement of regret instead. Now both sides get to claim a “win” and back away from resuming the Korean War, and, hey, would that all international crises ended this well.

The two sides also agreed to resume the process of reuniting families that were separated by the war, which should start happening again next month. There’s some hope that the marathon negotiating sessions (which started on Saturday and weren’t finished until yesterday) will provide “momentum” for closer inter-Korean relations in the future, which would obviously be great if it happens. Apparently North Korea’s statement of regret was somewhat unprecedented (for Pyongyang) in its specificity and in the degree to which it approached being apologetic, so make of that what you will.

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