Much sound and fury in Korea over the past week as the two sides traded insults, with a great deal of concern over threats of escalation from the North. Nothing happened, of course, and now an agreement of sorts has been reached:
South Korea has halted its propaganda broadcasts into North Korea as part of a deal to defuse tension.
Seoul had begun the loudspeaker broadcasts, which infuriate Pyongyang, after a landmine at the border injured two of its soldiers earlier this month.
The tensions bubbled over in a brief exchange of fire at the heavily guarded border last Thursday.
The deal was reached after the North, which initially denied planting the mine, agreed to express "regret".
South Korea's President Park Geun-hye said the deal "could serve as an occasion to resolve all inter-Korean issues through trust".
Well yes, it could serve "as an occasion to resolve all inter-Korean issues through trust", but it won't. There is no trust - as President Park well knows.
As usual in these matters it's the North which has more reason to be pleased with the outcome. It all started when a couple of South Korean soldiers patrolling in the South Korean section of the DMZ were seriously injured by land mines. There's little doubt that these were placed there by the North Koreans - who then proceeded to fire artillery shells across the border. Unsurprisingly President Park was furious, and demanded an apology.
She hasn't got one though. In #2 of the six items which form the agreed deal (as presented by the KCNA), the North merely express their regret over the DMZ explosions - no culpability admitted. In return the South have ceased their propaganda broadcasts (see here for details of what was in the broadcasts, and why they angered the North so much).
So as usual the North has paid no price for its aggression - as was the case with the May 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, or the bombardment of Yeonpyeong later that same year - and the whole episode can be portrayed internally as another triumph for the Great Marshal Kim Jong-un. The South, meanwhile, has shown how readily it will settle for any deal in the face of an unpredictable adversary which delights in military brinkmanship. Joshua Stanton - whose analysis is worth reading in full - takes item #1 of the agreement as an implicit promise of a payoff to the North. It all looks very much like appeasement.