Koreas test the waters on new radio system
SEOUL — As a result of historic military-to-military meetings last month, warships from the two Koreas exchanged peaceful radio traffic for the first time Monday, with some hailing the event as a further move toward détente between the two nations.
The 15-minute radio exchange was spawned by meetings to address accidental naval clashes in the disputed waters of the Korean peninsula. In recent years, at least two skirmishes between navy ships left dozens dead on both sides.
With the crab fishing season about to go into full swing, the new agreement to exchange radio traffic by standard radio transmissions and flag signaling systems was signed after general officers from the two Koreas met for the first time since the Korean War.
Using calls signs Baekdu-san One and Halla-san One — the names of the highest mountains in North and South Korea — the crews of the two ships exchanged messages, identified each other, then continued with their missions.
“With the successful communication today, I believe that the dangers of accidental clashes taking place along the western sea will be reduced,” said South Korean Navy Lt. Cmdr. Yoo Jae-geun, according to a Ministry of National Defense statement.
The radio traffic was part of a larger agreement reached at last month’s meeting: The two sides also agreed to stop exchanging propaganda along the Demilitarized Zone beginning this week, dismantling denigrating signboards and ending loudspeaker taunts.
Also on Monday, a 103-person delegation from North Korea arrived in Seoul to attend a series of events marking the fourth anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit the two nations’ leaders held in 2000.
Even amid the international standoff over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the two sides are taking gradual steps toward improving their relationship.