The U.S. has reaffirmed its commitment to defending South Korea against any aggression, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared a “quasi-state of war” against the nation.
The rival nations exchanged fire on Friday, and crazed dictator Kim warned that North Korea’s military would attack the South at 5pm Pyongyang time (8.30am UK time) on Saturday.
That deadline has been and gone without incident, and the two nations have now met in a last ditch effort to prevent war – talks began at 9.30am UK time and are reportedly still ongoing.
Tensions have grown since yesterday, when South Korea fired a barrage of artillery rounds into North Korea after the North shelled across the border to protest against anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts. Kim threatened action unless the South stopped those broadcasts.
The two Koreas reached an agreement in 2004 to stop the use of propaganda loudspeakers at the border, but South Korea started broadcasting again on the August 10. They say this was in reaction to two of their soldiers being injured by a mine, for which they held the North responsible.
The U.S. have said they are concerned and closely monitoring the situation, and have since urged Pyongyang to halt any “provocative” actions following the first exchange of fire between North and South Korea since last October.
South Koreans who live close to the border are still in shelters for their own safety.
It’s not the first time the North have made threats like this (and probably won’t be the last), but let’s hope an agreement can be reached to stop this from escalating any further.