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South Korea's new government proposes military talks with North Korea

South Korea's new government proposes military talks with North Korea

The country's Red Cross also wants to open talks of its own "to discuss restarting reunions between families separated by the Korean War", NPR's Elise Hu notes. North Korea has yet to respond to the latest overture.

Cho Myoung-gyon, head of the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, later said in a press briefing Monday that South Korea had left enough wiggle room for the North, adding that the local government would flesh things out once Pyongyang reacts.

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"I believe this is a great opportunity for me to hear from different authorities of this new government about their approach and their policies toward the human rights situation (in the North)", he said. South Korea has offered on Monday, July 17, 2017 to talk with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s. The last such talks were held in December 2015.

Maruyama explained that raising pressure now is essential "in order to be able to conduct a serious dialogue" with North Korea in the future.

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The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year. Analysts are predicting that if the inter-Korean military talks do take place, the two sides will agree to restore their June 4 agreement under the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2004, in which they pledged to "prevent unintended clashes in the West (Yellow) Sea, halt propaganda activities at the MDL, and remove means of propaganda".

The proposals come after Moon said at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month that he was in favor of dialogue with the North despite the "nuclear provocation" of its latest missile test.

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Sources said the government would prefer to wait for the decision of the two-judge bench before taking any decision. Bharti, the main complainant in the case, had first sent a complaint to the EC about eight years back in 2009.

Six South Koreans including three pastors - Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil - are being held in captivity in North Korea. But U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council earlier this month that if it is united, the global community can cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons programs, increase air and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials accountable. "The last such reunions were almost two years ago". A senior official with the Ministry of National Defense said it was "continuing to hold discussions on inter-Korean military talks with the Ministry of Unification and other agencies involved in practical matters".


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