UN chief welcomes inter-Korean deal

August 24, 2015
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Yonhap)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Yonhap)

NEW YORK (Yonhap) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed an agreement between South and North Korea to defuse heightened military tensions, saying he hopes it will lead to resumption of long-stalled negotiations on the North’s nuclear program.

“I warmly welcome the news of an agreement reached between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea today. In particular, I highly appreciate the agreement to hold regular inter-Korean dialogue, and hope that this will serve as a mechanism to effectively manage any problems that may arise on the Korean Peninsula,” Ban said in a statement.

“I strongly encourage humanitarian measures such as reunions of separated families to be regularized without being subject to political and security considerations. I further hope that this hard-won momentum for inter-Korean dialogue will lead to the resumption of talks for addressing the nuclear issue,” he said.

Ban emphasized that the agreement should be fully implemented for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, adding that he is ready to support inter-Korean cooperation.

After days of marathon negotiations, the two Koreas announced a landmark agreement that centered on the South halting anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts in exchange for the North expressing regret over the injuries South Korean soldiers sustained from the explosion of landmines planted by the North.

The two sides also agreed to hold more government-to-government talks to move inter-Korean relations forward, organize a round of separate family reunions around Chuseok — a major fall holiday in both Koreas — and seek greater civilian exchanges between the two sides.

The agreement capped tensions that had been spiraling since the two sides exchanged artillery fire across their heavily armed border last week, which sparked fears the tensions could escalate out of control and lead to larger military clashes.

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