South Korean President Park Geun-hye talked tough on Monday, demanding that North Korea apologise over a recent landmine incident, even as the bitter rivals held marathon negotiations in a bid to defuse tensions that have brought the peninsula to the brink of armed conflict.
Park said anti-North propaganda broadcasts would continue unless Pyongyang took responsibility for landmine explosions early this month that wounded two South Korean soldiers in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.
North Korea denies it laid the mines.
The incident has escalated into a crisis that saw both sides exchange artillery fire on Thursday and ramp up their military readiness. The United Nations, the United States and the North’s lone major ally, China, have all called for calm.
“We need a clear apology and measures to prevent a recurrence of these provocations and tense situations,” Park told a meeting with her top aides, according to a statement released by her office. “Otherwise, this government will take appropriate steps and continue loudspeaker broadcasts.”
Seoul and Washington were reviewing the possibility of bringing in “strategic” US military assets, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok said, without elaborating.