South Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

17 July, 2017, 16:20 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • A North Korean soldier guards the frontier near the Chinese border town of Dandong. Trade between the two countries

Moon's proposal was laid out during his speech on July 6 in Berlin, where he proposed other engagement overtures toward North Korea, such as holding reunions of families separated by the war on October 4 and the invitation of North Korean delegates to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

The South's defence ministry proposed a meeting to be held on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, while the Red Cross offered to hold talks on August 1 at the same venue.

Earlier this month, Moon reiterated he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if 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.

"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", Cho said. The dialogue was suspended by increased cross-border tension following the North's missile and nuclear activities.

On the other hand, North Korea has not responded to the South's proposal yet.

Mr Cho also urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the North previous year in response to the South imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang. FILE - In this October 22, 2015, file photo, North Korean Son Kwon Geun, center, weeps with his South Korean relatives as he bids farewell after the Separated Family Reunion Meeting at Diamond Mountain resort in North Kore. South Korea offered Monday to talk with North.

South Korea on Monday offered military and Red Cross talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to ease military tensions along the inter-Korean border and resume humanitarian exchange between peoples of the two sides.

Seoul's olive branch comes as U.S. President Donald Trump signals frustration with the pace of efforts by China, North Korea's longtime ally and top trading partner, to pressure Kim back to the bargaining table. But his push has reported little progress with the North test-firing a series of newly developed missiles since Moon's May 10 inauguration. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

Outside experts believe the South Korean broadcasts and leaflets sting in Pyongyang more because the authoritarian country worries that the broadcasts will demoralize front-line troops and residents and eventually weaken the grip of absolute leader Kim Jong Un.

The last such meetings were held in 2015, when fewer than 100 elderly Koreans from each side were allowed to spend three days with their family members. But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

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