Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Korea offers inter-Korean military talks on easing border tensions

Korea offers inter-Korean military talks on easing border tensions

But Pyongyang has staged a series of missile launches in violation of United Nations resolutions, most recently on July 4 when it test-fired its first ICBM, a move which triggered global alarm and a push by President Donald Trump to impose harsher United Nations sanctions on the country.

Tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea conducts missile tests with increased frequency.

As another follow-up measure to Moon's initiative, the South Korean Red Cross proposed to its DPRK counterpart holding humanitarian talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a building in the South Korean side of Panmunjom.

Separately, the South Korean Red Cross suggested to its North Korea counterpart holding dialogue about the reunion of families, who have been separated after the 1950-1953 Korean War for decades along the inter-Korean border.

If the talks are held, they would be the first meeting of such kind since 2015, BBC reported.

South Korean army soldiers pass by military vehicles deployed in the Korean War era at Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 17, 2017.

Moon, who took power in May, has advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed North as a means of bringing it to the negotiating table and vowed to play a more active role in global efforts to tame the South's unpredictable neighbour.

North Korea has said that the 12 female workers involved in a mass-defection to South Korea in April a year ago and Kim Ryon Hui - who has said she wishes to return to her homeland after, she claims, mistakenly defecting in 2011 - must be returned to the North. The Rodong Sinmun said a "fundamental shift" in policy was needed to reassure North Korea of Moon's intentions.

"The Ministry of National Defense (MND) propose to North Korea to hold the military talks between the South and North Korean authorities on July 21 at Tongilgak on the North Korean side... as follow up measures to the suggestions", South Korean Vice Minister of National Defense Suh Choo-suk told assembled media during a special news briefing. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

Washington has also called on China, the North's sole ally, to put more pressure on Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear ambitions, which have advanced rapidly under the North's leader, Kim Jong-un.

South Korea did not disclose what specifically it wanted to discuss if military talks were held. But analysts say North Korea may accept the defense talks because it wants the South Korean army to halt loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that began after North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

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