North Korea also began to dismantle loudspeakers it had erected only last week, traditionally used to blast anti-South Korean messages over the border, Yonhap reported.
The move represents a notable de-escalation in rhetoric after Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong’s orders to the army to “decisively carry out the next action” – in part because of what Pyongyang said was Seoul’s failure to stop activists floating balloons with anti-regime leaflets over the border.
The meeting also discussed documents outlining measures for “further bolstering the war deterrent of the country,” KCNA reported.
Tensions between North and South Korea appeared to be on the mend when in 2018, leaders of both countries met for the first time at the border.
The historic summit saw both sides pledge to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons – and in the months that followed, there were efforts to improve ties and maintain dialogue.
However, the relationship has been on a downward spiral after a failed summit between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.
And the past few weeks saw relations deteriorate especially rapidly – prompted by defector groups in South Korea sending propaganda across the border,
South Korean activists typically send balloons that carry objects like leaflets, USB sticks or DVDs with criticism of the Pyongyang regime, as well as South Korean news reports or even Korean dramas.
All of this is aimed at breaking North Korea’s control on domestic information with the hope that people might eventually topple the regime from within.
The South Korean government has already tried to stop groups sending leaflets across the border, arguing their actions put residents near the border at risk. The move prompted North Korea to renew threats of military action – and shortly afterwards it blew up a joint liaison office that it had established with South Korea in 2018.
North Korea and South Korea have exchanged gunfire in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which divides the two Asian countries.
Gunshots fired by North Korea at 07:41 AM local time hit a South Korean guard post in the central border town of Cheorwon, Seoul’s military said.
No casualties were reported on the South Korean side.
In response, South Korea fired “two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement according to our manual”, the military statement said.
It is not clear what provoked the initial gunshots. The joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said that they were trying to contact North Korea through their military hotline to determine the cause of the incident.
This is the first time in five years that North Korean troops have directly fired on South Korea. The last incident happened when a North Korean soldier made a dash across the military demarcation line to defect to South Korea.
The DMZ was set up after the Korean War in 1953 in order to create a buffer zone between the two countries.
For the past two years, the South Korean government has tried to turn the heavily fortified border into a peace zone.
Easing military tensions at the border was one of the agreements reached between the leaders of the two countries held a summit in Pyongyang in September 2018.
President Donald Trump has offered to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.
North Korea has described President Trump’s offer as a “very interesting suggestion”.
Donald Trump has arrived in South Korea to discuss the flagging North Korea denuclearization talks.
If Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un were to see each other at the DMZ, it would be their third meeting in just over a year, and their first since a summit in Vietnam broke down in February.
President Trump tweeted: “After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
President Trump – who is visiting South Korea after attending the G20 summit in Japan – conceded that the pair could see each other only “for two minutes”.
However, despite the apparent lack of any diplomatic preparation, some have suggested another face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un could help reset relations and set the scene for future talks.
Only a few hours later, North Korea’s first vice-minister for foreign affairs, Choe Son Hui, said in statement: “We see it as a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received an official proposal in this regard.”
Such a meeting, the statement added, “would serve as another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations”.
It remains unclear whether officials with President Trump were briefed in advance about his overture to Kim Jong-un, and South Korea’s presidency said nothing was yet confirmed.
Last week, a South Korean official said Donald Trump was considering a trip to the DMZ, prompting speculation a meeting with Kim Jong-un could be possible.
President Trump attempted to make a surprise visit to the area in November 2017, but was forced to abandon the plans due to bad weather.
According to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North Korean soldier made it across by passing through the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, which is the only portion of the DMZ where both forces stand face-to-face.
“He crossed from a North Korea post towards our Freedom House [a building on the South Korean side of the border],” the statement said.
The soldier was hit in the arm and shoulder by gunfire, it added.
According to South Korean media this is only the third defection across the JSA since the end of the Cold War. The last time a soldier crossed was in 2007, and before that in 1998.
The number of North Koreans defecting to the South in the first two-thirds of this year dropped by 13% compared with 2016.
According to South Korean officials, from January to August 2017, 780 North Koreans escaped to South Korea.
The fall is believed to be a result of tighter government surveillance and reinforced border security by both North Korea and China.
The majority of the defectors flee via China, which has the longest border with North Korea that is easier to cross than the heavily protected Demilitarized Zone.
South Korea says more than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Noah’s Ballroom – The Pit a strange and exciting venue at Outlook Festival 2011
Outlook Festival 2011, the fourth edition of an event started in Fort Punta Christo, Croatia, began on Thursday, September 1.
The festival features artists from the dance scenes, line-up includes biggest names in Soundsystem Culture from Dub, Dubstep, Dancehall, Drum & Bass, Hip-hop, Grime, Garage, Electronica and Bass Music.
Outlook Festival 2011 is held in an amazing location, an abandoned fort in Pula, in the region of Istria, Croatia.
Fort Punta Christo was built in the eighteen hundreds and looks like something from a lost world. The fort is located on a peninsula and is surrounded by Adriatic Sea. During the day sun-soaked beach parties and boat parties are held and during the night the Fort becomes a strange, yet attractive and exciting place.
This year the Outlook Festival 2011 has two new arenas, the moat surrounding Fort Punta Christo, and the Harbour Stage where Outlook Festival 2011 showcase most of the headliners.
The Dungeon: a "Gothic" venue of Outlook Festival 2011
The Courtyard, The Dungeon, Noah’s Ballroom – The Pit, Oustide Arena, Mungos Arena, Main Arena, The Boats, The Beach, TheFort are the other venues of the event.
Headline performers this year are: Mala&Coki, DMZ, Macka B (live), Michael Prophet&Dub Asante (live), Mad Professor, Iration Steppas, Nero, Zinc, Roots Manuva, Skream
On the Dubstep: Distance, Quest, Pinch, Engine Earz (live), Submotion Orchestra (live), Seven, Joe Kane, Stenchman, Rouge State, Marchmellow, Daddy Nature, Captain Crunch, Play Dub. T, Luxton Brothers, Joe Dubz, Shackleton
Last year, after the festival, Outlook Festival Croatia’s Christmas Reunion took place at The Coronet Theatre in London. The tickets for Outlook Festival 2012 will be on sale from mid September 2011. Outlook Festival 2011 ends on September 4.