The US-led United Nations Command (UNC) has called for general-level military talks with North Korea to discuss the artillery attack on a South Korean island.
The call for talks has been precipitated by North Korea's artillery attack on the populated Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border, with South Korea.
"UNC has called for general officer-level talks with the Korean People's Army, through their Panmunjom Mission, in order to initiate an exchange of information and de-escalate the situation," according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
UNC commander General Walter Sharp who also commands some 28,500 US troops in South Korea, strongly condemned the North's attack.
"We call upon North Korea to stop these unprovoked attacks and fully abide by the terms of the armistice agreement. These actions are threatening the peace and stability of the entire region," he said.
The UNC supervises the ceasefire agreement between the two countries that ended the Korean War in 1953 and is responsible for maintaining the truce.