Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Seoul offers military talks with Pyongyang

Seoul offers military talks with Pyongyang

It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

They would also come roughly two weeks after North Korea conducted its latest missile test this year, launching an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan.

South Korea has called on North Korea to take part in military talks at the border in an ongoing effort by President Moon in Seoul to reduce tension by engaging in diplomatic dialogue with Kim Jong-un.

The proposed legislation is also the latest sign the United States is no longer waiting for China to increase pressure on firms within its borders that have been engaged in either hiring North Korean workers or trading with Pyongyang.

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South Korea is seeking urgent talks with its northern neighbour to defuse growing military tension.

Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, as soon as Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.

This is his second visit to South Korea since taking the post past year.

"North Korea should respond to our honest proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean peninsula", Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's minister for unification, said. A senior government official reported on July 16 that the administration was "fine-tuning plans to propose talks to North Korea within the week".

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Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South a year ago after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China. The biggest factor in Seoul's rush to propose military talks with Pyongyang appears to be its sense that time is of the essence.

Seoul's proposal, which comes after months of repeated nuclear weapons tests by Pyongyang, would be the first government-level talks between the two Koreas since 2015, reports Efe news.

The group proposed the family reunion to be held on October 4, in time for the Chuseok holiday, Korea's harvest festival.

Six South Koreans including three pastors - Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil - are being held in captivity in North Korea.

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"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the country's defense ministry said in a statement, according to the Agence France-Presse news service.

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