South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

It came hours after the Ministry of National Defense proposed holding military talks with the North on Friday to reduce tensions, and the (South) Korea Red Cross suggested an August 1 meeting with its northern counterpart aimed at arranging an event for separated families to get reunited briefly.

The defense ministry and the Red Cross asked Pyongyang to reply to the suggestion through the military hotline in the western region and the liaison office at Panmunjom, a truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Moon, who calls his predecessors' hard-line policies a total failure, has said he would employ both dialogue and pressure to resolve the North Korea standoff.

During his speech in Berlin on July 6, Moon laid out his vision for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula, including a proposal to mutually halt acts of hostility along their tense border as of the July 27 anniversary of the armistice treaty that ended the three-year Korean War in 1953.

The last such reunions were held in 2015.

University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin predicted, "North Korea could agree to inter-Korean military talks, since it was one of the things - along with a large-scale reunification meeting - proposed by the Korean Workers' Party at its 7th party Congress [in May 2016]". -South Korean war games.

President Moon Jae-in's overture Monday clearly showed again that he prefers diplomacy over pressure or economic sanctions to try to improve ties between the two Koreas and persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons program.

The ministry did not explicitly specify what "all hostile activities" includes, and the definition varies between the two Koreas.

The North has repeatedly announced its refusal to hold family reunion talks with Seoul, unless the South returns 13 people who Pyongyang says are abducted. The two declarations aim to foster cross-border cooperation, exchanges and reconciliation.

He singled out a group of 12 who fled while working at a North Korean restaurant in China a year ago, and Kim Ryon-hui, a defector who requested to go back to her homeland in 2015.

The Moon administration is apparently seeking to start by re-establishing idle communication channels through issues that appeal to Pyongyang, such as the propaganda broadcasts and flyers and then holding the family reunions, a more urgent matter to Seoul. He said now was North Korea's last best chance to change direction.

"After North Korea's frequent missile tests including its very first ICBM test, the global community has vowed to tighten sanctions and China simply can not exclude itself from the recent movement, although it probably does not want to indefinitely cut off fuel sales to the North", Mr Kang said.

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