Moscow hopes first high-level contact between North, South Koreas after long pause to resume inter-Korean dialogue

The Russian Foreign Ministry has published a commentary on the August 22 negotiations between North and South Koreas in Panmunjom tasked to resolve the recently aggravated situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has published a commentary on the August 22 negotiations between North and South Koreas in Panmunjom tasked to resolve the recently aggravated situation on the Korean Peninsula.

"We are hopeful that the first high-level contact between the North and the South made after a long pause will lead to the resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue and serve the purpose of normalization in the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the commentary published on Saturday.

Representatives of South Korea and the DPRK are still negotiating in the border village of Panmunjom in order to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean media said quoting an officer of the South Korean Unification Ministry.

National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo are representing South Korea at the negotiations and their North Korean counterparts are top military aide Hwang Pyong So and Kim Yong-gon, a senior official responsible for South Korean affairs.

Details of the meeting have not been provided, and the press has no access to it.

The 48-hour ultimatum of North Korea demanding that South Korea halts its loudspeaker broadcasts in southern parts of the demilitarized zone expired at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Moscow time) on Saturday.

Pyongyang threatened to use force unless its demand was met.

Yet South Korea refused to stop the broadcast.

North and South Korea had an artillery fire exchange on Thursday, and North Korea was the first to open fire.

Kim Yong-chol, North Korea's General Bureau of Reconnaissance Director, said on Friday that North Korean army units stationed near the demarcation line with South Korea were on red alert.

On August 10, South Korea resumed loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts in the demilitarized zone for the first time in eleven years. The decision to resume the broadcast was preceded by an incident in which two South Korean servicemen were injured in a mine explosion in the demilitarized zone. Seoul accused Pyongyang of placing mines in the demilitarized zone, and North Korea dismissed those accusations.

The South Korean media said that after the resumption of loudspeaker broadcast Pyongyang threatened Seoul last week with 'indiscriminative strikes' on the South Korean territory unless South Korea silenced the loudspeakers.

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