Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 1 News List

South Korea offers talks on tensions with North Korea

AP, SEOUL

South Korea yesterday offered to talk with North Korea to ease animosities and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.

It is unclear if North Korea would agree to the proposed talks as it remains suspicious of the South Korean president’s overtures, seeing the new leader’s more liberal policy as still resorting to the US to force North Korea to disarm.

Seoul’s proposal for two sets of talks indicates that South Korean President Moon Jae-in is pushing to improve ties with Pyongyang despite the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test this month.

South Korean Vice Minister of Defense Suh Choo-suk said the South’s defense officials are proposing talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday to discuss how to end hostile activities along the border.

Seoul’s acting Red Cross chief Kim Sun-hyang said it wants separate talks at the border village on Aug. 1 to discuss family reunions.

North Korea’s state media has not immediately responded to South Korea’s overtures.

Earlier this month, Moon reiterated he is willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if conditions are met.

Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities, restart family reunions and cooperate on next year’s Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Moon has said he would use both dialogues and pressure to resolve the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program, but his push has reported little progress with the North test-firing a series of missiles since May.

The North’s missile launch has stoked security worries that the country could eventually perfect a reliable nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the US.

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