South Korea Proposes Military Talks with Pyongyang Later This Week

It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk, right, speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 17, 2017.

As the North's leader Kim Jong-un addressed the 7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in May past year, he voiced hope for military talks with the South, saying it would serve as an opportunity for comprehensive consultations on removing possible risks of an armed clash in the border area and easing tension.

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.

Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used in the past for inter-Korea talks. If realised, they would be the first for two years. North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group made a decision to defect of its own free will.

The election in May of Mr. Moon, a liberal human-rights lawyer, ended decades of conservative dominance in South Korea.

If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015.

Moon has suggested hostile military activities be halted at the inter-Korean border on July 27. South Korea and the United States dispute the claim.


South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s. Kim Jong Il, meanwhile, sent his premier, spy chief and other top officials to Seoul for talks.

"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the defence ministry said in a statement.

Numerous estimated 60,000 South Koreans that have signed up to participate in these sporadically held inter-Korean reunions are elderly and have had virtually no contact with relatives living in the repressive North where contact with the outside world is highly restricted. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S.

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

If held, it would be the first dialogue between the military authorities of the two sides in nearly three years.

The South's Red Cross delivered the offer of holding the talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a Panmunjom building controlled by the South.

The reunions are a highly emotional issue because most applicants are in their 70s or 80s and are desperate to see their loved ones before they die.


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