World Media

South Korea Proposes Military Talks With North

South Korea Proposes Military Talks With North

The South Korean defence ministry also proposed reconnecting a military hotline between the two sides, which was cut following North Korean missile and nuclear tests a year ago.

But Reuters noted that such activities between the neighbours vary: the South usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations by the North, whereas Pyongyang wants US-South Korea joint military drills to be suspended.

In a speech on July 6, President Moon said his government would push for a peace treaty with North Korea, as part of a comprehensive solution to the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program.

The two Koreas last held family reunions in October 2015.

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The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried a commentary by a private writer, on Saturday saying it seemed "fortunate" as Moon included his government's committment to the landmark joint declarations signed at the inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007.

North Korea, which usually communicates via state-run media, has not publicly responded to either proposal. The Korean War was halted with a cease-fire that left the peninsula still technically at war.

While in office, Ms. Park, who took a hard line on North Korea and its nuclear weapons program, had prevented South Korean nongovernmental organizations from making contact with the North.

The ministry did not explicitly specify what "all hostile activities" includes, and the definition varies between the two Koreas.

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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 past year after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China.

South Korea's Defense Ministry made the offer on Monday morning, the first since Moon Jae-in became the South's president.

Family reunification and humanitarian improvement are other goals alongside the de-escalating the nuclear and military conflict between the two Koreas. He said now was North Korea's last best chance to change direction.

As another follow-up measure to Moon's initiative, the South Korean Red Cross proposed to its DPRK counterpart holding humanitarian talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a building in the South Korean side of Panmunjom.

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He singled out a group of 12 who fled while working at a North Korean restaurant in China previous year, and Kim Ryon-hui, a defector who requested to go back to her homeland in 2015. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration. The reunions are widely seen as a barometer of inter-Korean relations. His 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.


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