S. Korea of­fers rare talks with North

Tempo - - News -

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea of­fered Mon­day to talk with North Korea to ease an­i­mosi­ties along their tense bor­der and re­sume re­unions of fam­i­lies sep­a­rated by their war in the 1950s.

It’s un­clear if North Korea would agree to the pro­posed talks as it re­mains sus­pi­cious of the South Korean pres­i­dent’s over­tures, see­ing the new leader’s more lib­eral pol­icy as still re­sort­ing to the United States to force North Korea to dis­arm.

Seoul’s pro­posal for two sets of talks in­di­cates Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in is push­ing to im­prove ties with Py­ongyang de­spite the North’s first in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile this month.

Vice De­fense Min­is­ter Suh Choo Suk said the South’s de­fense of­fi­cials are propos­ing talks at the bor­der vil­lage of Pan­munjom on Fri­day to dis­cuss how to end hos­tile ac­tiv­i­ties along the bor­der. Seoul’s act­ing Red Cross chief Kim Sun Hyang said it wants sep­a­rate talks at the bor­der vil­lage on Aug. 1 to dis­cuss fam­ily re­unions.

North Korea’s state me­dia hasn’t im­me­di­ately re­sponded to South Korea’s over­tures.

Ear­lier this month, Moon re­it­er­ated he’s will­ing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if con­di­tions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hos­tile ac­tiv­i­ties along the bor­der, restart fam­ily re­unions and co­op­er­ate on the 2018 Win­ter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Moon has said he would use both di­a­logues and pres­sures to re­solve the stand­off over North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram. But his push has re­ported lit­tle progress with the North test-fir­ing a se­ries of newly de­vel­oped mis­siles since Moon’s May 10 in­au­gu­ra­tion.

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