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Koreas hold high-level talks
On Thursday, North Korea fired a projectile at a South Korean loudspeaker that was broadcasting anti-Pyongyang messages over the border.
The South’s National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-jin plans to meet Hwang Pyong-so, the top political officer of the North’s military, there again at 3 p.m. Sunday, he added.
Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea met at the Panmunjom truce village straddling their border on Saturday, raising hopes for an end to a standoff that put the rivals on the brink of armed conflict.
“There’s a high possibility that the two sides will find common ground by each taking one step back as they agree on the gravity of the current situation”, he said.
Then on Friday, North Korea declared its front-line troops were in full war readiness and prepared to go to battle if Seoul refused to back down. He warned that should North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pursue provocation, his nation would face “searing” consequences.
North Korea also permitted more than 240 South Koreans to enter a jointly-run industrial complex at its border city of Kaesong.
“Any provocations by North Korea will not be tolerated”, Park told the gathering.
Neighboring China is “deeply concerned” about the situation, the foreign ministry said on Friday, calling for restraint as the sides traded artillery fire.
North Korea denies any responsibility for the blasts and has accused the South of fabricating evidence of its involvement.
The highest-level meeting since President Park took office in February 2013 was held to defuse the heightened tensions caused by cross-border exchange of artillery fires on Thursday over South Korea’s propaganda broadcasts.
For the moment, there has been little sense of panic among ordinary South Koreans who have become largely inured over the years to the North’s regular, frequently laughable and always unrealised threats of imminent war.
“The joint forces between South Korea and the U.S. are now putting its best efforts in responding to it”.
South Korea began blasting anti-North propaganda over the DMZ on August. 10, resuming a tactic both sides had stopped in 2004, days after the landmine incident.
“Chairman Dempsey reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to the defense of the ROK (South Korea) and reiterated the strength of the US-ROK alliance”, a Pentagon statement said.
But there was a further sign Saturday that tensions could ease: In a rare move, North Korean state TV referred to the South as the “Republic of Korea”, rather than with the usual propaganda term the “puppet state” in its reporting on the diplomatic talks.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – Senior officials from North and South Korea resumed a second round of talks on Sunday that temporarily pushed aside vows of imminent war on the peninsula.
The Koreas’ mine-strewn Demilitarized Zone is a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically in a state of war.
Having insisted that it is ready for an “all-out war” earlier Saturday, local reports had suggested that the North was backing up its words with action.