Restora­tion

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Cho also urged the restora­tion of mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment hot­lines across the bor­der, which had been cut by the North last year in re­sponse to the South im­pos­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions af­ter a nu­clear test by Py­ongyang. In all, the North has con­ducted five nu­clear tests and nu­mer­ous mis­sile tests.

The South also pro­posed sep­a­rate talks by the ri­val states’ Red Cross or­gan­i­sa­tions to re­sume a hu­man­i­tar­ian project to re­unite fam­i­lies sep­a­rated dur­ing the 1950-53 Korean War in closely su­per­vised events held over a few days.

The South Korean Red Cross sug­gested talks be held on Aug 1, with pos­si­ble re­unions over the Korean thanks­giv­ing Chuseok hol­i­day, which falls in Oc­to­ber this year.

The last such re­unions were held in Oc­to­ber 2015 dur­ing the gov­ern­ment of Moon’s pre­de­ces­sor un­der a fu­tile push for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion fol­low­ing a sharp in­crease in ten­sion over bor­der in­ci­dents in­volv­ing a land­mine blast and ar­tillery fire.

China, which has close ties to Py­ongyang de­spite Bei­jing’s anger over North Korea’s mis­sile and nu­clear tests, wel­comed the pro­posal, say­ing co­op­er­a­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween the two Koreas was good for ev­ery­one and could help ease ten­sions.

“We hope that North and South Korea can work hard to go in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion and cre­ate con­di­tions to break the dead­lock and re­sume di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news brief­ing.

Mean­while, the Euro­pean Union is con­sid­er­ing tougher sanc­tions on North Korea over its first in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile test to pre­vent the iso­lated coun­try from fund­ing fur­ther nu­clear weapons devel­op­ment.

In a state­ment Mon­day, the EU’s ex­ec­u­tive arm con­demned the test ear­lier this month as a “se­ri­ous threat to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity” and urged an end to such ac­tions.

In ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing sanc­tions, the state­ment said, the EU “will con­sider fur­ther ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponses” in co­or­di­na­tion with al­lies and UN ef­forts.

The EU also of­fered Euro­pean sup­port for South Korean ef­forts to ne­go­ti­ate with North Korea.

The mis­sile launch has stoked in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity fears. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he would never ne­go­ti­ate his weapons pro­grams un­less the United States aban­dons its hos­tile pol­icy to­ward his coun­try.

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