North Korea aligns clocks with South as propaganda cut off in DMZ
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North Korea aligns clocks with South as propaganda cut off in DMZ

NORTH KOREA has announced it will shift its clocks to align with its southern neighbour, as Seoul said it would end propaganda playing at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) as the first steps in implementing the agreement released at a bilateral summit last week.

Pyongyang pushed back its standard time by 30 minutes in August 2015, however as of May 5 will return to the same time zone as a sign of unity and reconciliation with Seoul, reported The Korea Herald on Monday.

The South Korean military, meanwhile, turned off the loudspeakers that broadcast a mixture of news, Korean pop songs and criticism of the North Korean regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit. It will begin removing the speakers in the DMZ on Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: Korea Summit: North and South agree to complete denuclearisation of peninsula

“We see this as the easiest first step to build military trust,” defence ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said. “We are expecting the North’s implementation.”

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met at a summit in the truce village of Panmunjom on Friday and agreed to “completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain”, according to the South’s official news agency Yonhap.

The feel-good summit has boosted South Koreans’ trust in North Korea, a poll Monday showed, even though the meeting’s final declaration leaves many questions unanswered, particularly what “denuclearisation” means or how that will be achieved.

A survey taken on Friday by Realmeter showing 64.7 percent believe the North will denuclearise and keep peace on the Korean peninsula. When asked if they trusted North Korea before the summit, only 14.7 percent said they did. Some 28.3 percent said they still do not trust Pyongyang.

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Newspapers with front page stories about the inter-Korean summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen in Koreatown, Los Angeles, California, April 27, 2018. Source: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

President Moon, meanwhile, has seen his approval rating rise to 70 percent, its highest since mid-January, the research agency said.

Much now hinges on Kim’s upcoming summit with US President Donald Trump, who said the meeting could happen over the next three to four weeks. Any deal with the United States will require that North Korea demonstrate “irreversible” steps to shutting down its nuclear weapons program, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: North and South Korea to end war this year

A flurry of diplomacy is unfolding in the lead-up to that meeting, with China saying it will send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday this week. China is the North’s main ally.

Over the weekend, meanwhile, South Korea’s spy chief visited Tokyo to brief Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Friday’s summit, where Kim and Moon were seen on live TV smiling and even hugging, gave many South Koreans their first extended chance to see Kim in person, and many were struck by a self-deprecating and witty side they had never seen.

Additional reporting from Reuters.