Seoul (dpa) – High-level teams from North and South Korea meet at the
truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday in an attempt 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 specializes 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.

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 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 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 demilitarized 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.