S. Korea offers to sit down with North
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.
It was unclear how North Korea will react to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s outreach. But Moon’s overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the international standoff over North Korea’s weapons programs, despite having condemned the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and having vowed a firm response.
If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015. Ties between the Koreas have plunged over the North’s expanding missile and nuclear programs and the hard-line policies of Moon’s conservative predecessors.
South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk proposed Monday that defense officials from the two Koreas hold talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday on how to end hostile activities along the border. South Korean acting Red Cross chief Kim Sun Hyang said at a news conference that the country wants separate talks at the border village Aug. 1 to discuss family reunions.