South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea to ease tensions

Lucy Bush
July 17, 2017

"In order to suspend hostile activities at the military demarcation line, we propose holding an inter-Korean military talk at Tongilgak", the North Korean building inside the truce village of Panmunjeom, the ministry said in a statement.

The South Korean Red Cross also wants talks with the aim of restarting family reunions of those separated by the Korean War.

South Korea's new government is making overtures to the North, proposing military talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two rivals.

"North Korea must respond to our proposals honest if it is truly peace on the Korean peninsula", told reporters Cho Myoung-Gyon, south Korean minister of Unification.

The proposals were separately announced to local media by the Ministry of National Defense and the Korean Red Cross, the latter of which organizes the family reunions. But he has achieved little progress, with North Korea test-firing a series of newly developed missiles.

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The Koreas last convened for military talks in late 2014. However, past history has shown that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, is good at fooling the worldwide community with displays of fake goodwill - which risk Washington and Seoul relaxing their vigilance.

North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests since the start of 2017.

Moon's point man on the North sought to assure the communist state of the South's sincerity and seriousness behind Monday's proposal.

Millions of people were separated during the Korean War that resulted in the partition of the peninsula.

The North severed the West Sea hotline in protest against the Park Geun-hye government's shutdown of the Kaesong factory park in February 2016.

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Seoul and Pyongyang remain far apart on the prospects of an eventual peace deal. "The last such reunions were almost two years ago".

It conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, claiming to have mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile. Suh said he expected a "positive response" to the idea, without elaborating on what he meant by hostility. Ms. Ahn said there were no indications that Ms. Wright or any of the other activists would be barred from South Korea.

"We hope that the two Koreas will make efforts to break the stalemate and create conditions for a resumption of negotiations", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang was quoted as saying at a press briefing.

While Cho says there is no "separation" between the USA and South Korea on dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat, Washington continues to emphasize pressure over dialogue and is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, according to US officials.

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