Pyongyang, Seoul trade blamed for tension

2015-08-24 18:23
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending an emergency enlarged meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea. (KNS, KCNA, AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending an emergency enlarged meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea. (KNS, KCNA, AFP)

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Seoul - A third day of talks aimed at defusing tensions between the Koreas was held on Monday, following recent exchanges of artillery fire and threats of war.

South Korean President Park Heun Hye told advisors that the North must apologise for the recent border incidents before Seoul would consider silencing propaganda loudspeakers that were switched on last week, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency said.

Seoul has said the speakers were switched on for the first time in 11 years in retaliation for land mines laid by North Korean forces that blew the legs off two South Korean troops.

With little apparent progress in the talks, Pyongyang said the South fabricated the mine incident as an excuse for warmongering, according to an editorial in the state mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun.

"The puppets' confrontational mental illness has completely reached the late stage," it said, according to Yonhap.

The tension escalated with an exchange of dozens of artillery shells across the border on Thursday.

About 50 of North Korea's estimated 70 submarines were out of their bases, with their locations unknown, Yonhap cited a South Korean military official as saying.

Artillery doubled

The artillery deployed on the North's side of the border had been doubled, he said.

Yonhap also reported that North Korea military had mobilised around 20 hovercraft around the western maritime border, citing unnamed military sources.

Kim Kwan Jin, South Korea's national security advisor, and Hwang Pyong So, the North Korean military's highest political officer, are meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korean presidential spokesperson Min Kyung Wook said.

Hwang is considered a close confidante of the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Hong Yong Pyo, South Korea's unification minister, and Kim Yang Gon, his North Korean equivalent and a senior member of the ruling party, were also taking part.

Min refused to give further details while the negotiations were ongoing.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

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