During two rounds of marathon talks that began Saturday at the border village of Panmunjom, the Koreas agreed on a set of steps aimed at easing tension, with Pyongyang agreeing to lift a "quasi-state of war" that it had declared last week, according to South Korea's presidential office and North Korea's state media.
The countries also agreed to resume in September reunions of families separated by the war and to hold further talks soon in either Seoul or Pyongyang, both sides said.
The agreements were expected to quickly ratchet down tension that rose after South Korea blamed North Korea for the mine explosion at the border that maimed two soldiers and restarted anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts in retaliation earlier this month.
But it's unclear how long the good mood would continue as overall ties remain strained and many previous cooperation accords and projects remain deadlocked.
"I hope the two sides faithfully implement the agreements and build up (mutual) confidence through a dialogue and cooperation and that it serves as a chance to work out new South-North relations," chief South Korean negotiator and presidential national security director Kim Kwan-jin said in a televised news conference.
The United States welcomed the agreement.
"What's important here is that the two sides did get together, they did come to an agreement that they both found mutually satisfactory," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington, "and that tensions now, which have been running pretty high over the last few days, have an opportunity to decrease a little bit and take some of the air out of this."
Kim described the North's expression of "regret" over the fact the mine blast left the two soldiers injured as an apology and said the loudspeaker campaign would end at noon Tuesday unless an "abnormal" event occurs. It was not still clear whether North Korea was now admitting its involvement in the blast.
Pyongyang had denied involvement in the land mine explosions and rejected Seoul's report that Pyongyang launched an artillery barrage last week.
Even as the two countries held talks over the weekend, South Korea's military said North Korea continued to prepare for a fight, moving unusual numbers of troops and submarines to the border.
These were the highest-level talks between the two Koreas in a year.
That senior officials from countries that have spent recent days vowing to destroy each other were sitting together at a table in Panmunjom, the border enclave where the 1953 armistice ending fighting in the Korean War was agreed to, was considered something of a victory.
The marathon nature of the talks was not unusual. While the Koreas often have difficulty agreeing to talks, once they do, lengthy sessions are often the rule. During the latest Panmunjom talks, the first session lasted about 10 hours and the second session about 33 hours. After decades of animosity and bloodshed, finding common ground is a challenge.
The decision to hold talks came hours ahead of a Saturday deadline set by North Korea for the South to dismantle the propaganda loudspeakers. North Korea had declared that its front-line troops were in full war readiness and prepared to go to battle if Seoul did not back down.
South Korean defense officials said about 70 percent of the North's more than 70 submarines and undersea vehicles had left their bases and could not be located by the South Korean military as of Saturday. They said the North had doubled the strength of its front-line artillery forces since the start of the talks Saturday evening.
It was not immediately clear whether North Korea pulled back its submarines and troops after the agreement was announced.
On Thursday, South Korea's military fired dozens of artillery rounds across the border in response to what Seoul said were North Korean artillery strikes meant to back up an earlier threat to attack the loudspeakers.
Analysts said the North fears that the broadcasts could demoralize its front-line troops and inspire them to defect.
At the talks, Kim and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo sat down with Hwang Pyong So, the top political officer for the Korean People's Army, and Kim Yang Gon, a senior North Korean official responsible for South Korean affairs. Hwang is considered by outside analysts to be North Korea's second most important official after supreme leader Kim Jong Un.