North Korea military parade images
North Korean soldiers parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War at Kim Il-sung Square, in Pyongyang, North Korea (Reuters)

One million North Koreans volunteered to fight for the country's armed forces if the current conflict with South Korea escalates, North Korea's state media has claimed. The Korean Central News Agency claimed there had been a surge in volunteers following the increase in tensions between the countries.

"Young people across the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are turning out in the sacred war for defending the country with their faith and will to annihilate the enemies," it reported.

Government officials from both sides have been meeting for talks at Panmunjom Truce village in order to ease tensions. Delegates failed to reach an agreement on Saturday, 22 August, and talks resumed the following day.

The current diplomatic crisis was caused by a series of minor military actions between North and South Korea. Late last week, South Korea fired 32 shells into North Korea, after its neighbour fired missiles at South Korean loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda across the heavily fortified border. The speakers – which South Korea says were not damaged by North Korea's attack – were set up after two South Korean soldiers were seriously injured by a landmine, which South Korea alleges was by North Korean soldiers.

A South Korean official has claimed there has been a North Korean military build-up along the border in recent days and the country has deployed 50 military submarines – the majority of its fleet. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged both sides to diffuse the situation.