North and South Korea have struck a deal to calm fears of an escalation in the conflict between the two countries following marathon talks.
The agreement – outlined in a joint statement – saw the North expressing “regret” over land mine attacks that wounded two soldiers from the South.
In exchange the South will stop broadcasting propaganda over the border at noon (local time) on Wednesday.
North Korea also agreed to end its “quasi state of war” with the South, while the neighbours agreed to hold follow-up talks on improving relations in Seoul or Pyongyang.
“It is very meaningful that from this meeting North Korea apologised for the landmine provocation and promised to work to prevent the recurrence of such events and ease tensions,” Kim Kwan-jin, national security adviser to the South Korean president, told a televised news briefing.
Seoul has set up 11 sites where loudspeakers boom out anti-Pyongyang messages, news broadcasts and K-pop hits such as Gangnam Style across the border.
The South had refused to stop unless the North apologised for the land mine attacks – but North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un continually denied involvement.
The agreement hints at a softened stance from both sides – and end the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula.
South Korea had made a series of claims that its neighbour was preparing for war by doubling the strength of its frontline artillery forces and dispatching 50 of its 70 submarines from their bases.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un claimed he was prepared to risk “all-out war” unless Seoul halted its propaganda broadcasts.
North Korean state media reported that more than one million young people have volunteered to join or rejoin the military to defend their country should war break out.
The standoff reached crisis point last Thursday when the North fired four shells into the South, according to Seoul, which responded with artillery fire, although no injuries were reported on either side.
The decision to hold talks at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) came just hours before a Saturday deadline set by Mr Kim for the South to dismantle its loudspeakers.
North and South Korea have remained technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty.
The United Nations, the United States and the North’s lone major ally, China, had all called for calm.
The US, which has 28,500 soldiers based in South Korea, has been conducting annual joint military exercises with the South. North Korea regularly condemns the manoeuvres as a preparation for war.