Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea resumed talks on Sunday after negotiating through the night in a bid to ease tensions involving an exchange of artillery fire that brought the peninsula to the brink of armed conflict.
The meeting at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) began on Saturday evening shortly after North Korea's deadline for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts or face military action. It broke up before dawn on Sunday.
Even as the talks restarted, the rivals were on high military alert, with the North deploying twice the usual artillery strength at the border and a majority of its submarine fleet - more than 50 vessels - away from bases, the South's defence ministry said.
South Korea, whose military was also on higher alert, said it had no plans to halt the propaganda broadcasts that triggered the latest standoff.
The envoys, shown on TV exchanging handshakes and tight smiles at the start of their meeting, discussed ways to resolve tension and improve ties, South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a brief statement.
"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, who said the length of the high-level meeting may be unprecedented.
The talks took place in South Korea's Peace House, just south of Panmunjom's often-photographed sky-blue huts, and the same venue where lower-level talks between the bitter rivals took place in February 2014, without ending in agreement.