South Korea of­fers mil­i­tary talks with Py­ongyang

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

SEOUL: South Korea has pro­posed mil­i­tary talks with North Korea, the first for­mal over­ture to Py­ongyang by the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in, to dis­cuss ways to avoid hos­tile acts near the heav­ily mil­i­tarised bor­der.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse by the North to the pro­posal.

Moon, who came to power in May, has pledged to en­gage the North in di­a­logue as well as bring pres­sure to im­pede its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grammes.

The of­fer comes af­ter the North claimed to have con­ducted the first test of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile ear­lier this month, and said it had mas­tered the tech­nol­ogy to mount a nu­clear war­head on the mis­sile.

“Talks and co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the two Koreas to ease ten­sion and bring about peace on the Korean penin­sula will be in­stru­men­tal for push­ing forth a mu­tual, vir­tu­ous cy­cle for in­ter-Korea re­la­tions and North Korea’s nu­clear prob­lem,” the South’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­is­ter Cho My­oung-gyon told a news brief­ing.

The South Korean de­fence min­istry pro­posed talks with the North on July 21 at Tongil­gak to stop all ac­tiv­i­ties that fuel ten­sion at the mil­i­tary de­mar­ca­tion line.

Tongil­gak is a North Korean build­ing at the Pan­munjom truce vil­lage on the bor­der used for pre­vi­ous in­ter-Korea talks.

Cho also urged the restora­tion of mil­i­tary and govern­ment hot lines, which had been cut by the North last year in re­sponse to the South im­pos­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions.

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