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N. Korea says it is ready to go to 'all-out war'


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SEOUL/WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned Saturday it is prepared to go to "all-out war," further heightening tensions with South Korea in the wake of an exchange of artillery fire, as the Pyongyang-set deadline for defusing the crisis is approaching fast.

 

The North's foreign ministry issued the warning, claiming once again that the country never started Thursday's exchange of fire with the South and accusing Seoul of fabricating the allegations that the communist nation fired first.

 

"The army and people of the DPRK are poised not to just counteract or make any retaliation but not to rule out an all-out war to protect the social system, their own choice, at the risk of their lives," the North said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

 

The current situation has "reached the brink of war" and "is now hardly controllable," it said.

 

Apparently referring to China's call for restraint on both sides, the North said it has exercised "our self-restraint for decades," adding, "Now no one's talk about self-restraint is helpful to putting the situation under control." The statement is the latest in a series of harsh war threats from Pyongyang

 

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Rival Koreas hold high-level talks to defuse war fears

 

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The first high-level talks in nearly a year between South Korea and North Korea stretched into the early hours of Sunday, as the rivals looked to defuse mounting tensions that have pushed them to the brink of a possible military confrontation.

 

The closed-door meeting in the border village of Panmunjom, where the armistice ending fighting in the Korean War was agreed to in 1953, began early Saturday evening, shortly after a deadline set by North Korea for the South to dismantle loudspeakers broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda at their border. North Korea had declared that its front-line troops were in full war readiness and prepared to go to battle if Seoul did not back down.

 

An official from South Korea's presidential Blue House said after midnight that the talks were still going on, and that the delegates were taking a break. Marathon talks are not unusual for the Koreas, who have had long negotiating sessions in recent years over much less momentous issues.

 

At the meeting, South Korea's presidential national security director, Kim Kwan-jin, and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo sat down with Hwang Pyong So, the top political officer for the Korean People's Army, and Kim Yang Gon, a senior North Korean official responsible for South Korean affairs.

 

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http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world <<Source

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