23 Aug 2015

Second round of Korea crisis talks

1:30 pm on 23 August 2015

Officials from South Korea announced talks would resume at 3pm (6pm NZT) on Sunday.

South Korean president's national security adviser, Kim Kwan-Jin (right), and unification minister Hong Yong-Pyo (2nd R) shaking hands with the North Korean military's top political officer Hwang Pyong-So (left) and North Korean top official in charge of South Korea affairs, Kim Yang-Gon (2nd L).

North Korean officials (right) and their South Korean counterparts at the first day of talks. Photo: AFP / The South Korean Unification Ministry

Senior aides to the two countries' leaders met at the Panmunjom truce village on the border, where the 1950-53 Korean War ceasefire was signed, in the highest-level inter-Korean talks for nearly a year.

The first round of talks finally broke off around 4am after nearly 10 hours.

North Korea had threatened "strong military action" if the South did not stop border loudspeaker broadcasts that had provoked a "semi-state of war". Banks of loudspeakers have been blasting news bulletins, weather forecasts and music from the South.

Despite scepticism that Pyongyang would follow through on its threat, the ultimatum raised border tensions to their highest level for years, with the North re-positioning artillery units and South Korean and US fighter jets flying simulated bombing runs.

South Korea has evacuated almost 4000 residents from border areas and warned that it would "retaliate harshly".

The talks were led by South Korean national security adviser Kim Kwan-Jin and his North Korean counterpart Hwang Pyong-So - a close confidante of leader Kim Jong-Un.