02:05 GMT +323 May 2019
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    South Korean soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge which leads to the truce village Panmunjom, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea

    South Korean Troops Lower High Alert Level at Border With DPRK

    © REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
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    The South Korean military lowered its high combat readiness status.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — The South Korean military lowered its high combat readiness status it had maintained amid recent tensions with North Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday, citing a military source.

    "The maximum alert order that had come down to the front-line military units is being downgraded," the source was quoted by the agency as saying.

    Pyongyang was also reportedly reducing its high combat readiness to a normal level, another source told Yonhap.

    On Monday, following marathon talks, two Koreas reached an agreement to stop acts of hostilities to defuse tensions.

    South Korea turned off the loudspeakers broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda.
    © REUTERS / South Korean Defense Ministry/Yonhap
    The tensions on the divided Korean peninsula escalated last week, as North Korea reportedly fired shells at a South Korean military base across the demilitarized zone. Seoul responded with dozens of heavy artillery rounds.

    Following the exchange of fire, the countries announced they were ready to bring troops to full combat readiness.

    The tensions were triggered by Seoul's decision to restart anti-Pyongyang broadcasting propaganda along the demilitarized zone, a practice suspended for over a decade. The decision to hold talks was agreed just hours before the North Korean ultimatum for Seoul to dismantle loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda was to expire.

    Related:

    Korea Saga Breakthrough: Pyongyang, Seoul Agree to Ease Tensions
    US Reviews War Plan for 'Defending' South Korea Amid North Korea Buildup
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    South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), combat readiness, demilitarized zone
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