South Korea is dismantling a bank of loudspeakers along its border, which for years have been used to blast propaganda and music, including K-Pop, into North Korea.
The speakers had been broadcasting on a regular basis since January 2016, they were turned back on as a response to Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test. They can be heard for miles.
South Korea turned them off again ahead of Friday’s historic inter-Korean summit, during which its President, Moon Jae-in, met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in person for the first time.
Seoul appears to be moving quickly to show the North it will follow through on the commitments it made during the summit. Both Moon and Kim agreed to cease their audio battle as part of a three-page joint declaration signed by the leaders Friday.
North Korea has its own set of speakers along the heavily fortified border, which it’s used to broadcast music and propaganda about Pyongyang being a workers’ paradise towards South Korea.
The speakers have long been a point of contention on both sides. Seoul has used them in the past to expose enemy soldiers to media that’s not approved or directly controlled by the central government in Pyongyang – a luxury the vast majority of North Koreans are not afforded.
At the summit, the two leaders vowed to formally end the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ended in an armistice, rather than an official peace treaty, and seek the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
Both sides also agreed to not distribute leaflets along the border that divides the two countries. South Koreans have been known to fly balloons north filled with rice, fliers and thumb drives to expose North Koreans to information from the outside world.