INJIMGAK, SOUTH KOREA, AUG. 13 -- The great day came, the great day went, and once again hopes for progress on Korean unification fizzled.

Today was the day when the governments of both Koreas had pledged to begin a week of events promoting reunification, including a "pan-national rally" and an "open borders" policy between South and North. But after numerous promises on both sides, the day ended without a single person crossing the border in either direction.

Based on today's developments, it appears that this whole week of reunification-related events will be reduced to a series of public relations gambits in which each government seeks to demonstrate that the other is the real obstacle to a united Korea.

In today's jockeying, the South Korean government took extensive steps to convey the message that the Communist North is hindering reunification.

In a dusty open space here at the southern bank of the Injim River, about 10 miles from the North-South border, South Korea set up a complete international port of entry.

This ad-hoc government village, perched on a dike between two broad, flat fields of pale green rice shoots waving in the breeze, included an immigration bureau operating out of a long, low tent, and an outdoor exchange bank, supposedly to convert North Korean currency into South Korean.

For the latter purpose, the South Koreans today set an exchange rate for the first time between North Korean and South Korean won, with a stated rate (668 southern won for each northern won) that would have meant a windfall for any North Korean who showed up.

But the North Korean government did not permit any of its citizens to show up. The whole purpose of the South Korean "port of entry" was evidently to convey this message in dramatic terms for the TV cameras.

None of the South Koreans had expected any citizens of the North to appear. When Ko Ju Nyu, the uniformed teller behind the folding table that constituted the South Korean currency exchange bank, was asked how many customers she had served today, she laughed.

"I haven't exchanged a single won," Ko said. Instead, she spent most of her time showing specimens of North Korean currency to curious reporters from TV stations in the South.

Similarly, one of the 70 customs and immigration officers stationed in the tent for the week by the South Korean government said she expected the calmest five days of her government career. "We like {to} be busy," she said in English, "but this time, {we} just fool around all week."

Earlier this summer, prospects for easing tensions on the Korean peninsula had looked a little better than normal.

Korea was split roughly in half more than 40 years ago as part of early Cold War tactics between the United States and the Soviet Union. Today, the Cold War is widely said to be over, and the other divided country of that era, Germany, is on a rapid course toward union. But the Korean peninsula is still divided into two nations, with no travel or communication between the citizens.

A few weeks ago, the two governments agreed to curtail their mutual distrust long enough for a meeting between the two country's prime ministers this fall. The prime minister is not the chief of state in either Korea, but the meeting, if it occurs, will be the first such high-level discussion in nearly two decades.

Then both governments started unleashing proposals for talks and exchanges of one sort or another this week. All the events were scheduled around Korean Independence Day on Wednesday -- commemorating Aug. 15, 1945, the day Japan's defeat in World War II ended its half-century of colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

The North Koreans have proposed a "pan-national rally," with participants from both North and South, for Wednesday at Panmunjom, the small village inside the Demilitarized Zone, a 150-mile-long swath of territory that divides North from South.

Not to be outdone, the South Koreans proposed that an "open border" policy be adopted for five days starting today.

However, both governments then placed enough qualifications on these proposals to assure that neither idea would be acceptable to the other side. Today, the South Korean government bused in a couple of hundred people for a demonstration that appeared to follow a carefully planned script, with little or no spontaneous activity.

Members of the crowd stood around fanning themselves to offset the intense midday heat. Every once in awhile, they would applaud languidly in response to cues from the speaker addressing them.

After the rally, the whole crowd ran toward the southern end of the one-lane bridge heading to North Korea, shouting imprecations in the direction of North Korea's chief of state, Kim Il Sung.

That done, they quietly lined up for the buses that would take them southward down Highway 1 -- formally known as "Unification Road" toward Seoul.