MINUTE MEETING: South, North Korea hold talks to defuse war fears

Marathon talks are not unusual for the Koreas, who have had long negotiating sessions in recent years over much less momentous issues.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A call for calm and restraint has also came from China, the North’s main diplomatic protector and economic supporter.

South Korea’s presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said the meeting adjourned at 4.15am and the two delegations will resume talks at 3pm on Sunday.

The four delegates – two from each side – will include the South Korean president’s national security adviser, Kim Kwan-Jin, and the man widely seen as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s number two, Hwang Pyong-So.

Yonhap news agency reported that the South’s national security adviser and unification minister will meet with the top official in charge of South Korean affairs, and the director of the general political department of North Korea’s military, at 6 p.m. (1000GMT).

Pyongyang made an initial proposal on Friday for a meeting, and Seoul made a revised proposal on Saturday seeking Hwang’s attendance, Kim said.

“Given their past negotiating style and tactics, the likelihood that they will follow through with their threat of a military action is low”, said James Kim, a research fellow at the Asan Institute think-tank in Seoul.

A South Korean presidential briefing stated that the North had specifically requested that the two officials attend.

The South earlier rejected an ultimatum that it halt anti-Pyongyang broadcasts by Saturday afternoon or face attack.

A South Korean army mobile missile launcher moves in Yeoncheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, on Saturday.

Thursday’s violence began when North Korea fired shells at South Korean military positions along their western border.

The annual exercise began Monday and was slated to end next Friday.

South Korea raised its military readiness to its highest level.

South Korean officials have said they will hold talks with officials from North Korea in a bid to defuse tensions. North Korea declared in that its troops are in a “quasi-state of war” & getting ready for battle ought to Seoul ignore the Saturday deadline.

“Even more encouraging is that they discussed not only ways to extricate themselves from the current crisis, but also ways to develop inter-Korean relations in the future”.

The loudspeakers, which are usually at the top of hills, bombard North Korean soldiers in the so-called Demilitarized Zone, as well as villages nearby, with a steady stream of broadcasts, including South Korean pop music and news that ordinary people in the isolated, totalitarian country would never otherwise hear – such as reports of senior officials in its government being executed for disloyalty to Kim. “It is a breakthrough”. An investigation by the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, however, concluded the soldiers were wounded by “wooden box mines” that had been deliberately planted by North Korean soldiers along a patrol route known to be used by South Korean troops. But Pyongyang has strongly denied the accusation.

North Korea denied provoking the exchange of fire, accusing Seoul of using what it called a “nonexistent pretext”.

Border town residents remain at home after returning from shelters in the wake of cross-border artillery fire on Thursday.


Both sides reported no casualties or damage in their territory, indicating the rounds were just warning shots.

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