South Korea silences propaganda broadcasts to the North as summit looms

  • The South Korean defense ministry announced the high-decibel broadcasts it routinely played across the heavily fortified demilitarized zone had fallen silent at midnight on Sunday.
  • North and South Korea are ironing out the final details for a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Friday.
  • A successful summit between the Koreas could then help pave the way for a meeting between Kim and Trump. They are poised to hold talks in late May or June.
A South Korean soldier stands next to the loudspeakers near the border area between South Korea and North Korea on January 8, 2016 in Yeoncheon, South Korea.
Korea Pool-Donga Daily via Getty Images
A South Korean soldier stands next to the loudspeakers near the border area between South Korea and North Korea on January 8, 2016 in Yeoncheon, South Korea.

South Korea has stopped blaring music and other propaganda via loudspeakers along the border with North Korea, in an apparent gesture of goodwill ahead of top-level talks later this week.

The South Korean defense ministry announced the high-decibel broadcasts it routinely played across the heavily fortified demilitarized zone had fallen silent at midnight on Sunday.

"We hope this decision will lead both Koreas to stop mutual criticism and propaganda against each other and also contribute in creating peace and a new beginning," Seoul's defense ministry said in a statement Monday.

South Korea said its dozens of speakers, which can be heard by North Korean troops and civilians in the surrounding area, would all be turned off to try to help create a better atmosphere for Friday's talks.

It is the first time in more than two years that Seoul's propaganda offensive has stopped. North Korea also has its own system of speakers along the border between the two countries, which tends to play reports critical of its neighbor and their allies. It is not yet known whether Pyongyang will also silence its loudspeakers.

'Maybe things will work out, maybe they won't'

Meanwhile, North and South Korea are ironing out the final details for a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Friday.

Ahead of the scheduled inter-Korean meeting, Pyongyang said it would halt all nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site. The announcement marked a remarkable turnaround in tensions after geopolitical uncertainty had been ratcheted up to unprecedented levels when the North carried out its largest-ever nuclear test last year.

The North's move to stop missile and nuclear tests was initially welcomed by President Donald Trump, before the U.S. premier then adopted a more guarded stance Sunday.

"We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won't — only time will tell," he said via Twitter.

A successful summit between the Koreas could then help pave the way for a meeting between Kim and Trump. They are poised to hold talks in late May or June.