“He has the longest history, best idea of what Kim Jong Un and what he’s hoping to get out of it”, Professor David Kang of the University of Southern California’s Korean Studies Institute told CNN.
Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said during a press briefing early Sunday that the two sides would hold a second round of talks after reviewing each other’s stance on issues addressed in the first meeting. In response, the South, for the first time in 11 years, resumed anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, infuriating the North, which is extremely sensitive to any criticism of its warlike, authoritarian system. The explosions maimed two South Korean soldiers on a routine patrol. The North’s shelling came after it had demanded last weekend that South Korea end the broadcasts or face military action – a relatively rare case of it following up on its frequent threats against the South. Its 48-hour ultimatum to halt the broadcasts, delivered in a letter to the South Korean Defence Ministry via a joint military communications channel, was also uncharacteristically specific.
At the meeting, South Korea’s presidential national security director, Kim Kwan-jin, 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.
South Korean TV broadcaster YTN re-broadcast the clip of North Korean TV using South Korea’s proper name.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency reports that “young people across the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are turning out in the sacred war for defending the country with their faith and will to annihilate the enemies”.
A US defense official says the drills have now resumed.
North Korea’s regime, known for being both thin-skinned and fond of saber-rattling, has made threats before, and when it does, South Koreans mostly just go about life as usual. But they’re now back on. “And the exercise is being conducted now according to plan”.
South Korea and the U.S.-led United Nations Command in Korea concluded that North Korea planted the mines that wounded the South Korean soldiers. The talks began shortly after a deadline set by North Korea for the South to dismantle loudspeakers broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda at their border.