South Korea offers to talk with North on tensions and family reunions

S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

On Monday, Seoul's Defense Ministry proposed talks at the border village of Panmunjom this Friday to discuss how to ease border-area tensions, while the Red Cross said it wants separate talks at Panmunjom on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used in the past for inter-Korea talks. But the South's then-president, Park Geun-hye, a conservative who has since been impeached and removed from office, rejected the offer, calling it insincere and demanding that the North first move toward dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

"Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea's nuclear problem", the South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says these latest proposals are in line with President Moon Jae-in's dual track policy to pursue both engagement with the Kim Jong Un government while also supporting USA led sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

South Korea did not disclose what specifically it wanted to discuss if military talks were held.

"The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies", Haley impressed.

"We can not destroy - even over a few days - their infrastructure and their capability that they've been working [on] for the last 60 years", the national security expert argued.

If the government meeting goes ahead, it will mark the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015.

North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan.

The vice defence minister did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas.

Meanwhile, it's quite uncertain whether the North will return to Red Cross talks.

The government made a separate proposal on reopening Red Cross talks to discuss ways to resume family reunions on the occasion of the Chuseok holiday in early October.

While the two Koreas have a history of failing to follow through on some rapprochement agreements struck during their rare talks, any dialogue between the rivals is considered a positive step toward easing tensions. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S.

If the meeting is to take place as planned, it would be the first dialogue between the military authorities of the two sides in nearly three years; their previous meeting was held on October 15, 2014.

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.

The agenda for the military meeting could include moves to suspend propaganda campaigns operated on both sides of the border for years, Cheong added.

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