Makkawity (makkawity) wrote,

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea will hold high-level talks at the border village of Panmunjom later Saturday, Cheong Wa Dae said, in a move to try to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea's National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-jin and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo will meet with Kim Yang-gon, the top North Korean official in charge of inter-Korean affairs, and Hwang Pyong-so, the North Korean military's top political officer, at 6 p.m., said the presidential office.

The meeting was first proposed by North Korea on Friday before the two sides worked out the differences on the participants.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency also reported the meeting, but it did not provide any further details.

North Korea set 5 p.m. Saturday as the deadline for South Korea to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along the heavily fortified border and dismantle all loudspeakers. The announcement of the meeting fell just two hours before this deadline.

The North threatened to launch "strong military action" if South Korea defies the ultimatum. North Korea also warned late Friday that it is prepared to engage in "all-out war."

   The meeting comes as the militaries of the rival Koreas are on high alert for a possible clash over these broadcasts. It remains unclear whether the two sides can defuse the tension.

South Korea has vowed to continue the psychological warfare critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which Pyongyang claims insults its dignity.

The North has bristled at South Korea's propaganda campaign amid concerns that an influx of outside information could pose a threat to Kim.

Eight fighter jets -- four American F-16s and as many South Korean F-15Ks -- swept through South Korean skies earlier in the day in the latest show of force against North Korea, according to the South Korean military.

Fears of a military clash sent more than 3,700 South Korean residents near the border with North Korea scurrying for shelters.

The North's recent war rhetoric underscored the desperate attempt to protect what it calls the "dignity" of its young leader Kim Jong-un -- a top priority among North Koreans.

South Korea has resumed the broadcasts along the border for the first time in 11 years in retaliation against North Korea for a recent landmine attack that left two South Korean soldiers severely injured.

South Korea accused the North of planting the mines inside the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, a charge denied by North Korea.

Separately, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se has cut short his visit to Costa Rica to deal with the escalating situations. Yun is to arrive in Seoul on early Sunday, a day ahead of schedule, according to the Foreign Ministry.


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