S.Korea pro­poses rare talks with the North

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

South Korea on Mon­day 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 bor­der.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse by the North to the pro­posal. The two sides tech­ni­cally re­main at war, but 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 pro­grams.

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

“Talks and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries to ease ten­sion and bring about peace on the Korean Penin­sula will be in­stru­men­tal in push­ing forth a mu­tual, vir­tu­ous cy­cle for in­ter-Korea re­la­tions and North Korea’s nu­clear prob­lem,” the South’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­is­ter Cho My­oung-gyon said.

China wel­comed the pro­posal, say­ing co­op­er­a­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries is 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 spokesper­son Lu Kang told a daily press con­fer­ence.

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

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.

The South also pro­posed sep­a­rate talks by the ri­val states’ Red Cross or­ga­ni­za­tions 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 will be held on Au­gust 1, with pos­si­ble re­unions over the Korean thanks­giv­ing Chuseok hol­i­day, which falls in Oc­to­ber this year.

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