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South Korea set to remove propaganda-blaring loudspeakers at North’s border

Key Points
  • South Korea's defense ministry said the loudspeakers, which until last week had routinely played high-decibel broadcasts across the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, would be removed on Tuesday.
  • The feel-good summit is thought to have helped pave the way for a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump.
  • The North Korean leader and U.S. president 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

South Korea will remove propaganda-broadcasting loudspeakers from its border with North Korea this week, while Pyongyang has announced it is poised to realign its time zone with Seoul.

The two peace offerings follow Friday's historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During the meeting, both leaders agreed to end hostile acts against each other, discussed plans to establish a liaison office and arranged to resume reunions of separated families.

"We see this as the easiest first step to build military trust," South Korean defense ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said in a statement, before adding: "We are expecting the North's implementation."

Trump meeting

South Korea's defense ministry said the loudspeakers, which until last week had routinely played high-decibel broadcasts across the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, would be removed Tuesday.

Seoul had already turned off its loudspeakers ahead of Friday's summit, in order to try to help create a better atmosphere for the talks. North Korea, which followed suit by silencing its own critical broadcasts ahead of the summit, is also expected to remove its loudspeakers this week.

On Sunday, North Korea said it would align its time zone with Seoul by putting clocks forward by half an hour. Pyongyang had changed the time zone in 2015, criticizing it as a relic from Japanese colonial rule.

Both moves were widely viewed as tentative steps of reconciliation.

The feel-good summit is thought to have helped pave the way for a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. The North Korean leader and U.S. president are poised to hold talks in late May or June.

The prospect of a deal between the U.S. and North Korea requires Pyongyang to take "irreversible" steps to shut down its nuclear weapons program, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.