Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Seoul proposes military talks with Pyongyang for next week

Seoul proposes military talks with Pyongyang for next week

South Korea is willing to put North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test aside and work together with the DPRK to ease heightening tensions and resume reuniting families who were separated by their war in the 1950s, according to Fox news. It is anxious about an influx of refugees and possible USA troops stationed on its border in a unified Korea.

During that period, two liberal South Korean presidents went to Pyongyang and held landmark summit talks with then-leader Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

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. Two days after, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States was prepared to use the full range of capabilities, including military options, to defend the country and its allies against North Korea.

But among the likely items are propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts and the launch of leaflets slandering each other's systems, which have often been a source of tension.

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He also offered to hold reunions of families torn apart by the war on October 4, Korea's lunar fall harvest holiday and the 10th anniversary of the second inter-Korean summit.

The North Korean government did not immediately respond to Moon's overtures. If held, it will also be the first such talks at government-level since December 2015, Reuters noted.

It represented the Moon administration's first formal offer of inter-Korean talks.

Yet even if it does, the prospects of the negotiations remain shaky given the gap in positions between the sides, observers say. Both Koreas prohibit their citizens from exchanging letters, phone calls and emails with people in the other country without government permission.

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The envisaged plan for family reunions faces its own daunting challenges. The Unification Ministry said it has about 130,000 South Korean applicants for such meetings on file, but only 60,000 of those are alive.

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. But this strategy has for the moment been douchée by the acceleration of the nuclear and missile programs in Pyongyang.

"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.

He singled out a group of 12 who fled while working at a North Korean restaurant in China past year, and Kim Ryon-hui, a defector who requested to go back to her homeland in 2015.

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The regime has been persistently insisting on their repatriation, saying they were kidnapped by the South Korean spy agency. The Korean Red Cross asked its counterpart from the North to reply through the Panmunjom Red Cross office.

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