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North, South Korea Resume Talks in Bid to Resolve Conflict

The high-level talks are aimed at ending the standoff between the two countries that escalated in recent days and had the North threatening attacks.

SEOUL — Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea resumed talks on Sunday as they look to ease tensions that brought the peninsula to the brink of armed conflict last week.

The meeting was taking place at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), where officials met Saturday afternoon shortly after North Korea's deadline for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts or face military action.

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The envoys were discussing how to resolve tensions and improve ties, South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a brief statement. The talks resumed at 3:30 p.m. Seoul time (2.30 a.m. ET).

"Both sides are under big pressure to get something out of this," said Jeon Young-sun, professor at the Institute of the Humanities for Unification at Konkuk University in Seoul.

"North Korea wants to stop broadcasts, while South Korea can't do it without achieving anything back."

North Korea and South Korea have remained technically in a state of war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, and inter-Korean relations have been in a deep freeze since the deadly 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship. Pyongyang denied responsibility.

The current tensions began early this month when two South Korean soldiers were wounded by landmines along the border. The North denies laying the mines. Days later, Seoul began its propaganda broadcasts from banks of loudspeakers, including news reports and entertainment from the South, resuming a tactic both sides halted in 2004.

The crisis escalated on Thursday when the North fired four shells into the South, according to Seoul, which responded with a barrage of 29 artillery rounds. North Korea declared a "quasi-state of war" in front-line areas and made an ultimatum for Seoul to halt its broadcasts.

That deadline passed on Saturday without any reported incidents.

The United Nations, the United States and the North's lone major ally, China, have all called for calm.