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South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea this month
17 July 2017, 03:52 | Terri Saunders
A North Korean soldier guards the frontier near the Chinese border town of Dandong. Trade between the two countries remains steady. Minoru Iwasaki
South Korea on Monday proposed talks with North Korea over military and Red Cross affairs, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
South Korea offered Monday to talk with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.
Soon after holding office in May, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in had resolved to engage the North in dialogues in order to establish peace in the region.
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. South Korean acting Red Cross chief Kim Sun Hyang told a news conference that it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions.
If a meeting takes place, it will mark the first military talks between the neighbours in three years.
He said that the talks be held on 21 July, adding: "We expect a positive response from the North".
The U.S. has all military options available against North Korea, the chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, said Friday. The ministry, which gave no agenda for the talks, said it was still waiting for an answer from Pyongyang.
Earlier, White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said, "The threat [from North Korea] is much more immediate now".
But the unification minister said the conditions for inter-Korean talks between the South and North Korean governments led by the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) "haven't been satisfied".
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried a commentary by a private writer, on Saturday saying it seemed "fortunate" as Moon included his government's committment to the landmark joint declarations signed at the inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007.
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