South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 17, 2017

Suh called on Pyongyang to restore the military communications line in the western region to send a reply to South Korea's dialogue overture, expressing anticipation of the DPRK's positive response.

Cho, whose office handles ties with the North, said South Korea does not have a hostile policy against North Korea and does not seek North Korea's collapse or unification through absorption.

In his Berlin Vision, Moon proposed marking the 64th anniversary of the armistice agreement on July 27 by having South and North Korea "halt all hostile activities that raise military tensions" at the MDL.

South Korea is willing to put North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test aside and work together with the DPRK to ease heightening tensions and resume reuniting families who were separated by their war in the 1950s, according to Fox news. The last reunions were held in October 2015 at a resort at Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast. The dialogue was suspended by increased cross-border tension following the North's missile and nuclear activities.

South Korea on Monday proposed talks with North Korea over military and Red Cross affairs, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

"South Korean authorities should not persistently depend on outsiders...but opt for improving the North-South relations and achieving independent reunification by pooling efforts with the compatriots in the North".

If the talks are held, loudspeaker broadcasts, leafleting and South Korea-U.S. drills are expected to top the agenda.

The proposals for the talks between the North and South come after the South's president said earlier this month at the G20 summit in Hamburg he was in favour of dialogue despite the "nuclear provocation" of the North's latest missile test.

The military has also occasionally launched giant balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

The Korean Red Cross proposed to start meetings for the reunion of separated families Monday morning, saying that it's a humanitarian issue that comes before politics. Moon's two conservative predecessors suspended large aid shipments and major cooperation projects, and cross-border communication hotlines have been shut down.

North Korea says South Korea abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but South Korea has said the group chose to defect of its own free will. North Korea is seen as worrying that doing so could open the country to influence from more affluent South Korea and threaten the ruling party's grip on power.

Pyongyang, however, has demanded Seoul turn over 12 waitresses who defected to the South past year before it will agree to holding family reunions.

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