South Korea offers to talk with North on tensions and family reunions

South Korea offers to talk with North on tensions and family reunions

South Korea offers to talk with North on tensions and family reunions

Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk told reporters at the defence ministry that South Korea offered talks of military authorities with North Korea to stop all hostile acts escalating military tensions near the military demarcation line.

The South Korean defense ministry did not clarify what would be on the agenda or what officials would be in attendance at the meeting, "apparently for some flexibility", the news agency Yonhap reports.

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.

Suh suggested the talks be held this Friday at Tongilgak, a building operated by the North Korean government in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom.

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Earlier this month, Moon said in a speech in Germany that he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and cooperate on the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "The last such reunions were almost two years ago". It suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.

Cho added, "In principle, we haven't changed our basic stance that we would use whatever method we have to press North Korea towards denuclearization, including sanctions [against the regime] when the North carries out a nuclear or missile provocation, and dialogue".

But U.S. President Donald Trump has mostly focused his efforts on pressuring China to do more to rein in the North.

"The fact that we wish to take on a leading role in resolving this (North Korean) issue has already been understood at the summit with the United States and the Group of 20 summit meetings", Cho said on Monday.

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"The talks will be aimed at reducing military tensions along the border and halting all hostilities".

-South Korea military drills. The proposal aims to mutually halt acts of hostility along the border as of July 27 which is the 64th anniversary of the Armistice Treaty that ended the three-year Korean War in a ceasefire in 1953.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South previous year.

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