ROK presses DPRK on dialogue proposal
SEOUL — The Republic of Korea on Friday urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to make a positive response to dialogue overtures earlier this week to discuss military and humanitarian affairs.
ROK Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said that defusing military tensions and restoring communication channels between the military authorities was crucial for establishing peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
He urged the DPRK once again to rapidly make a positive response to Seoul’s dialogue offer.
On Monday, the ministry proposed to its DPRK counterpart for holding talks about military affairs on July 21 at Tongilgak, in the DPRK side of Panmunjom.
The dialogue proposal was aimed at stopping all hostile acts near the military demarcation line, which divides the two neighbors.
Pyongyang, the spokesman said, had yet to give any response to the proposal until this morning, making it impossible to hold the inter-Korean dialogue on Friday.
The ministry said the military talks offer would be effective until July 27.
Separately, Seoul offered on Monday to hold a Red Cross dialogue with its DPRK counterpart for the reunion of families of the two neighbors, who had been separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The dialogue on the humanitarian affairs was proposed to be held on Aug 1 at the Peace House in the ROK side of Panmunjom.
Pyongyang had yet to give any reply.
Seoul’s dialogue offers were made as follow-up measures to President Moon Jae-in’s Korean Peninsula Peace Initiative, which was announced in his Berlin speech on July 6.
During the speech, Moon proposed to the DPRK stopping all hostile acts near the MDL from July 27, which marks the 64th anniversary of the armistice ending the war.
Whether Pyongyang would accept Seoul’s dialogue overtures remained uncertain ahead of the annual ROK-US war game, code-named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, scheduled for next month.
The computer-assisted simulation exercise would reportedly kick off on Aug 21, which would become the first US-ROK joint military exercise under Monn’s government.