South and North Korea are on high alert even though they are negotiating 0South and North Korea are on high alert even though they are negotiating 0

South Korean soldiers on military equipment south of the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula.

`The military still maintains its policy of maintaining a high alert posture, which has been in place since North Korea’s shelling on August 20,` Yonhap quoted a South Korean military official as saying.

`North Korea can conduct provocative acts even while inter-Korean dialogue is taking place, so our military still maintains a very ready posture,` he said.

South Korea accused North Korea of shelling the western border area on August 20, causing Seoul to respond with dozens of artillery rounds, but North Korea announced on August 21 that it was not the party that started the fight first.

A South Korean military official said the country’s surveillance results showed that the North Korean army was also in a ready position to fire.

Some North Korean soldiers have set up combat camps and are conducting live-fire exercises on the front lines, he added.

Other sources previously said North Korea had deployed 76.2 mm towed artillery to the demilitarized zone to prepare to attack South Korea’s propaganda speakers at the border.

Despite holding dialogue, Seoul will continue to keep the propaganda broadcast on loudspeakers with the view that they will only stop this if Pyongyang apologizes for the mine explosion on August 4 that injured two South Korean soldiers.

The South Korean and US militaries have raised the WATCHCON threat alert level to the second highest level, to guard against the risk of attack from North Korea.

The top military officials of the two countries are also determined to strongly counterattack if North Korea attacks South Korea.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula increased after the artillery exchange on August 20. Pyongyang then sent an ultimatum threatening to attack South Korea if it did not remove the loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda messages across the border.

The two Koreas held talks yesterday at the truce village of Panmunjom and will continue discussions this afternoon in an effort to ease tensions.

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