World

South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea

South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea

Earlier this month, Moon said in a speech in Germany that he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and cooperate on the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Most recently, Pyongyang claimed to have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea conducts missile tests with increased frequency.

"Concerning this, the Korean Red Cross proposes to hold an inter-Korean Red Cross talks on August 1 at the Peace House in Panmunjom to resolve the humanitarian issues such as holding a family reunion events on the occasion of Chuseok", Acting President of the Korean Red Cross Kim Sun-hyang told media at a news conference.

China views South Korea's offer to hold military and Red Cross talks with North Korea as "positive messages", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Monday.

Pyongyang cut off military communication in the Yellow Sea (known as West Sea in Korea) in February a year ago, in response to the South Korean government's unilateral decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) that month.




The election in May of Mr. Moon, a liberal human-rights lawyer, ended decades of conservative dominance in South Korea. The two sides technically remain at war but Mr Moon, who came to power in May, has pledged to engage the North in dialogue as well as bring pressure to impede its nuclear and missile programmes. Official talks between the sides have not been held since December 2015. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

When asked whether the South would "be flexible" on its joint military drills with the US, Cho responded that the issue was not one which Seoul had discussed directly yet. Ruler Kim Jong-Un has said he would not give up nuclear ambitions until the United States ceases its hostility towards Pyongyang. The North cut communication across the MDL after the South had imposed economic sanctions in response to a northern nuclear test in 2016.

Chances for talks on family reunions are slimmer as North Korea has already made it clear that it won't agree to a fresh reunion program unless Seoul returns some of the North Korean defectors living in the South who it says were abducted by South Korean agents.

If such activities pick up again in October as the South Korea's Red Cross hopes, they would be the first to take place in over two years.


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