High-level talks are occurring between South Korea and North Korea in a small border village to try and avoid military action by either country.
The talks began at Panmunjom shortly after the 5:00 p.m. deadline set by North Korea for South Korea to stop broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda at their border, Opposing Views previously reported.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un ordered the military to full combat readiness and declared a “quasi-state of war” on Thursday evening after an exchange of gunfire occurred between the two countries.
“Our military and people are prepared to risk an all-out war not just to simply respond or retaliate, but to defend the system our people chose,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement early Saturday. “The situation has reached the verge of war and can no longer be reversed.”
A ministry official, who asked to be unnamed because of office rules, said South Korea’s national security director, Kim Kwan-jin, and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo are present at the meeting in Panmunjom alongside North Korea’s top political officer, Hwang Pyong So, and Kim Yang Gon, a senior North Korean official responsible for South Korean affairs, AP reports via Yahoo News.
South Korea will reportedly continue playing anti-Pyongyang broadcasts during the meeting and will only make a decision on whether to halt them depending on the outcome of the talks.
A North Korean sympathizer who has close ties to the regime said the country was ready to “go nuclear” if South Korea does not follow their demands, The Daily Mail reports.
The U.S. military, which has 28,500 personnel in South Korea, said they are monitoring the situation closely.
“The United States remains steadfast in its commitments to the defense and its allies, and we will continue to coordinate closely with the ROK (Republic of Korea),” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Katrina Adams said.
According to the International Crisis Group, U.S. troops were mobilizing this afternoon in the area of the South Korean town Paju bordering North Korea, The Telegraph reports.