S. Korea of­fers to sit down with North

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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