North, South Korea to hold meeting to defuse war fears

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PYONGYANG/SEOUL: South Korea and North Korea agreed on Saturday to hold high-level talks at the border village of Panmunjom to defuse mounting tensions that have pushed the rivals to the brink of a possible military confrontation.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Seoul time, 30 minutes after the deadline set by North Korea for the South to take down the loudspeakers broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda at their border. North Korea has declared its frontline troops are in full war readiness and prepared to go to war if Seoul doesn’t back down.

The meeting comes as a series of incidents, starting with the North’s alleged land mine attack that maimed two South Korean soldiers and the South’s resumption of anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, raised fears that the conflict could spiral out of control.