South Korea president Park Geun-hye demanded on Monday that North Korea apologise over recent landmine blasts, even as the bitter rivals held marathon talks to defuse tensions that have brought the peninsula back to the brink of armed conflict.
Park said anti-North propaganda broadcasts would continue unless Pyongyang took responsibility for landmine explosions early this month that wounded two South Korean soldiers in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.
North Korea denies it laid the mines. Seoul and Pyongyang have remained technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty.
The landmine blasts escalated into a crisis that saw both sides exchange artillery fire on Thursday and ramp up their military readiness. The UN, the US and the North’s lone major ally, China, have all called for calm.
While North Korea often makes threats, prompting tough talk from the South, the two sides have always stopped short of a return to war, although dozens of soldiers have been killed over the years. Analysts expect current tensions eventually to ease.