South Korea offers rare talks with North to avoid border conflict

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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.

On Monday, Seoul's Defense Ministry proposed talks at the border village of Panmunjom this Friday to discuss how to ease border-area tensions, while the Red Cross said it wants separate talks at Panmunjom on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

"Aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the defence ministry said in a statement.

Moon has said he will use both dialogue and pressure to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

North and South Korea remain technically at war since the 1953, when an armistice agreement ended the war but no truce was signed.

Harris told the Asahi Shimbun daily that efforts to solve the North Korean nuclear issue by diplomatic means and sanctions will continue, but military options are always on the table and can be put into action at any time.

Military talks are likely between South Korea and North Korea, as South has extended an offer to North in this regard, after weeks of test a long-range missile by Pyongyang.

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Pyongyang cut off military communication in the Yellow Sea (known as West Sea in Korea) in February past year, in response to the South Korean government's unilateral decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) that month.

North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan.

The Red Cross said it hoped for "a positive response" from its counterpart in the North, hoping to hold family reunions in early October. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

The Oct. 4 declaration was the outcome of the inter-Korean summit that was held in Pyongyang in 2007 between late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader Kim Jong Un. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

"If South and North Korea sit face-to-face, we will be able to have a heart-to-heart discussion over mutual interests".

The most recent reunion of divided families was held in October 2015, and it remains unclear whether the inter-Korean meeting will take place. But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

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