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North and South Korea make concessions toward ending hostilities

Days after a historic summit, there are signs of progress from both North and South Korea. Pyongyang announced it will re-sync its time zone with South Korea's starting Saturday, while the South said it will remove the loudspeakers that blast propaganda into the North. John Yang reports on the first steps both sides seem to be taking, and what U.S. officials are saying about the American role.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Decades of tension appear to be easing on the Korean Peninsula, as the North and South work on points that have been a source of conflict since the active war ended.

    John Yang reports.

  • John Yang:

    On the Korean Peninsula today, signs of progress from both sides, first from North Korea's state news reader. Pyongyang announced it will re-synch its time zone with South Korea starting Saturday. In 2015, they had set clocks 30 minutes behind Seoul.

    And South Korea said it will remove the loudspeakers blasting propaganda into the North, this just days after Friday's historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un. They met on South Korean territory, in the demilitarized zone that separates the two nations.

    Today, Moon said this is just the start.

  • Moon Jae-in (through translator):

    We should make this moment an irreversible historical moment for the Korean Peninsula's peace and prosperity. But we have only put forward our first step.

  • John Yang:

    The two leaders also agreed to work toward a nuclear-free peninsula. South Korean officials say Kim told Moon that Pyongyang would shut down its nuclear testing site and offered to scrap the nuclear program entirely if the United States helps negotiate a formal end to the Korean War, and pledges not to attack the North.

    Today, at an afternoon news conference with the Nigerian leader, President Trump said cited Kim's promise to halt ballistic missile tests as a good sign.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The United States has never been closer to potentially having something happen with respect to the Korean Peninsula that can get rid of nuclear weapons.

  • John Yang:

    And Mr. Trump expanded on a morning tweet musing on the Korean DMZ as his possible preference for a summit location:

  • President Donald Trump:

    There's something that I like about it because you're there. You're actually there, where if things work out, there's a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third-party country.

  • John Yang:

    Yesterday, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the United States would insist that Kim give up his entire nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs before making any concessions.

    Bolton cited Libya's 2003 disarmament as a model. Then Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 by rebels with U.S. backing.

  • John Bolton:

    The Libyan program was much smaller. But that was basically the agreement that we made. And so we will want to test North Korea in this first meeting for evidence that they have made that strategic decision.

  • John Yang:

    Bolton went on to detail how the North had broken its commitments before. But newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with Kim four weeks ago, struck a more optimistic tone.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    My goal was to try and identify if there was a real opportunity there. I believe there is.

  • John Yang:

    Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis signaled the possibility of reducing the U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

  • James Mattis:

    Well, that's part of the issues that will be discussed in the negotiations with our allies first, and, of course, with North Korea. So I think for right now we just have to go along with the process, have the negotiations and not try to make preconditions.

  • John Yang:

    North Korea has long said the United States must pull its almost 29,000 troops from South Korea under any agreement.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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