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

South Korean President Park Heun Hye told advisors that the North
must apologize 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.

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

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

Kim Kwan Jin, South Korea’s national security adviser, and Hwang
Pyong So, the North Korean military’s highest political officer, are
meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korean presidential
spokesman 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.