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After summit, Koreas end propaganda broadcasts
June 17, 2000
SEOUL (AP) - Responding to an olive branch from North Korea, South Korea ordered the suspension Friday of all anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts.
A thaw is warming relations since this week's historic summit, when the Koreas' leaders pledged to work together to end half a century of hostilities and unite families separated by the Korean War.
During the three-day summit, which ended on Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il even promised to visit Seoul, the South Korean capital.
"The danger of war on the Korean peninsula has disappeared," South Korean President Kim Dae-jung said, briefing Cabinet members on his trip to the North. "The summit opened a new chapter for national unification."
The summit was the latest in a series of moves by North Korea to end its isolation. It recently opened relations with Italy and Australia and is trying to improve ties with Washington, Tokyo and Manila.
During the summit, Kim Jong Il expressed a willingness to invite Pope John Paul II to visit North Korea, the South Korean president said Friday.
At the summit on fostering peace on the Korean peninsula, the world's last Cold War frontier, Kim Jong Il ordered his state-controlled media and military to end anti-Seoul propaganda.
South Korea reciprocated Friday, ordering its military to stop anti-Pyongyang border broadcasts.
The peninsula has been divided since 1945. The Korean War began on June 25, 1950. They share the world's most heavily fortified border.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said it will reconsider a dlrs 45 billion won (dlrs 40 million) program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.
"We are looking for ways to commemorate the anniversary in compliance with the spirit of the agreement reached at the summit," ministry spokesman Yoon Il-young said.
The ministry's plan calls for re-enactment of major battles, including the Inchon landing, and invitations for more than 1,000 American and other foreign veterans to visit South Korea.
Culture and Tourism Minister Park Jie-won said he will review cultural and other Korean War anniversary programs to avoid friction with North Korea.
The North Korean leader's agreement to visit Seoul was seen as a measure of the success of the summit.
Finance Minister Lee Hun-jai said the two Koreas were expected to hold Cabinet-level talks in July to follow up on summit agreements.
One tangible outcome was North Korea's agreeing to exchange in August an unspecified number of the millions of families separated by the 1945 national division and the 1950-53 Korean War.
South Korea plans to propose Red Cross talks for later this month with North Korea to arrange the reunions.