China Welcomes South Korea's Push for Talks With North Amid Nuclear Crisis

18 July, 2017, 06:08 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

South Korea also proposed separate talks between Seoul and Pyongyang's Red Cross organizations to resume a humanitarian project to reunite families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kim's statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire US within its striking distance.

"After North Korea's frequent missile tests including its very first ICBM test, the worldwide community has vowed to tighten sanctions, and China simply can not exclude itself from the recent movement, although it probably does not want to indefinitely cut off fuel sales to the North", Kang said.

The EU also offered European support for South Korean efforts to negotiate with North Korea.

Beijing has been joined by Moscow in its "suspension-for-suspension" proposal, in which North Korea suspends weapons tests, while South Korea and the USA defer further large-scale military exercises. But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the worldwide standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and vowed a firm response.

Moon, who calls his predecessors' hard-line policies a total failure, has said he would employ both dialogue and pressure to resolve the North Korea standoff.

He proposed that the talks be held on 21 July, and said: "We expect a positive response from the North".

Seoul's proposal for two sets of talks indicates new President Moon Jae-in is pushing to improve ties with Pyongyang, despite the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test earlier this month. North Korea is seen as worrying that doing so could open the country to influence from more affluent South Korea and threaten the ruling party's grip on power. When asked whether Seoul consulted with Washington, Cho replied that the countries "mutually cooperated" on the matter.

The proposal comes around one week after the president of South Korea said talks with the North are more important than ever in order to halt provocations.

Yonhap quotes Unification Minister Cho, assuring North Korea that Moon's administration will "never pursue the collapse of North Korea and an absorption-based reunification".

The Defense Ministry offered talks with Pyongyang counterparts on Monday, while the National Red Cross floated reunion events for families split by decades of hostilities.

The sporadically held reunions last took place at a mountain resort in North Korea in October 2015, when hundreds of elderly Koreans and their family members met their long-lost relatives for the first time since they were split during the Korean War. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

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