“Our military and people are prepared to risk their lives in an all-out war to defend the system our people chose”, South Korea’s foreign ministry said.
A call for calm and restraint has also came from China, the North’s main diplomatic protector and economic supporter. It was meant to retaliate against North Korea for a recent landmine attack that left two South Korean soldiers severely injured.
South Korea resumed airing the propaganda broadcasts with loudspeakers along the border from August 10 as two soldiers were maimed on August 4 by the blast of landmines, which Seoul claimed had been planted by the DPRK.
Four US and four South Korean fighter jets have conducted simulated bombings, starting on South Korea’s eastern coast and moving toward the US base at Osan, near Seoul, officials said.
David Shear, assistant secretary for Asia issues, told Pentagon reporters the U.S. commander in South Korea chose to pause the exercise after consulting with South Korean military officials.
The new sense of worry also comes from uncertainty about the young, third generation leader now at the helm in the North, Kim Jong Un.
At the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Complex just north of the border, the last significant vestige of cooperation spawned by the rivals’ first summit meeting 15 years ago, entries and exits were proceeding as normal, Yonhap said. But I’m not sure Kim Jong Un understands the rules of the game established by his father and grandfather on how to ratchet up tensions and then ratchet them down.
Pyongyang is demanding that the propaganda being blared into the North be halted, but Seoul insists that will only happen when the North admits responsibility for planting land mines on the South’s side of the border. Pyongyang accused South Korea of “provocations” because of the “hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea“, a reference to the joint drills Ulchi Freedom Guardian.
South Korean Vice Defence Minister Baek Seung-joo had said on Friday his government expected North Korea to fire at some of the 11 sites where Seoul has set up loudspeakers.
South Korea said its military on Thursday fired dozens of shells toward the the North, which Seoul said had earlier launched artillery shells twice into the south side in the western border.
North and South Korea traded harsh rhetoric late into Friday night.
North Korea on Saturday demanded that the South halt the broadcasts or face military action, and on Monday began conducting its own broadcasts. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report, according to the AP. No damage was reported, though hundreds were evacuated from the area.
The South fired back 29 artillery rounds over the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the countries.
The North has threatened severe military consequences if the South does not stop the broadcast and remove the banks of loudspearks.
No media organisations are present at the talks, which are taking place inside the demilitarised zone which divides the two Koreas.
Earlier, a U.S. official said the United States and South Korea had taken a “pre-scheduled pause” in the exercise.