Koreas to continue high-level talks to ease tensions

2015-08-23 09:25

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Seoul - High-level talks between North and South Korea will resume at the truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday in an effort to defuse tensions following an exchange of gunfire this week that prompted the North to threaten "all-out war".

South Korean national security adviser Kim Kwan Jin and representatives of the Defence Ministry met with Kim Yang Gon, an official with the Workers' Party of Korea who specialises in South Korea issues, as well as the chief of the Korean People's Army, Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong So.

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

The meeting, which began on Saturday, was halted in the early morning hours of Sunday and will reconvene later in the day, a representative of the South Korean president told reporters.

South Korea resumed the operation of loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda across the border in retaliation for a land mine laid by North Korean forces that blew the legs off two South Korean troops.

North Korea intensified its threats of war on Saturday, calling the situation "hardly controllable". It also gave an ultimatum to Seoul to halt all provocations of sending propaganda across the border.

"Our military and people are prepared to risk their lives in an all-out war, to defend the system our people choose," the Foreign Ministry said on the official Korean Central News Agency, in comments before the announcement of the Panmunjom talks.

Earlier on Saturday, the South Korean Yonhap news agency said Pyongyang was making preparations for possible military strikes. Military sources said Northern forces were erecting additional artillery batteries north of the demilitarised zone.

Kim Jong Un declared a "quasi-war status" and ordered frontline army units to be fully battle ready.

An Myong Hun, North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said in New York Friday that South Korea must stop the propaganda broadcasts within 48 hours or face military retaliation.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

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