South Korea halts border propaganda speakers as summit with North looms

South Korea has turned off its speakers broadcasting propaganda across the border to North Korea for the first time in two years in the lead up to a historic summit between the two countries.

The speakers blast radio shows, pop music and criticism of Pyongyang towards North Korea in a bid to influence their northern neighbors. The broadcasts also include details of defectors who escape the north.  North Korea also has its own propaganda broadcasts, which include praise for leader Kim Jong-un and North Korean songs.

South Korea’s defence ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said the speakers stopped broadcasting from midnight Sunday.

“We hope that our move today will result in South and North Korea ending mutual slandering and propaganda against each other and creating a peaceful new beginning.” she said.

The two Korean leaders, Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet at a historic summit on Friday, the first such talks in over a decade. The two countries have remained at hostile since the Korean War ended with an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, in 1953.

Relations have only warmed since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, when a North Korean delegation visited the south for the first time since the Korean War. During the visit, Jong-un’s sister delivered a letter to Moon, inviting him to visit Pyongyang.

On Friday, Pyongyang announced it would stop its nuclear and ballistic missiles tests ahead of the summit and its upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump.

It is hoped that Friday’s summit could bring about an end to military tensions between North and South. A substantial area on both sides of the border remains a demilitarized zone, but a significant military capability is maintained in both countries, including some of the more than 28,000 US troops stationed in South Korea. It is within this buffer zone that the summit will take place, inside the Peace House building.

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