South Korea pushes for talks with North Korea

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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.

Asked whether Seoul was open to talks on halting joint military drills with the United States, which Pyongyang has persistently demanded in the past, Cho said only that the two Koreas would "freely discuss matters of mutual interest".

"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the defence ministry said in a statement.

Moon has suggested hostile military activities be halted at the inter-Korean border on July 27, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

South Korea has offered to hold talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s. The last government level talks were held in December 2015.

University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin predicted, "North Korea could agree to inter-Korean military talks, since it was one of the things - along with a large-scale reunification meeting - proposed by the Korean Workers' Party at its 7th party Congress [in May 2016]". It is North Korea that has been provocative with, for example, the bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in 2010.

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The invitation followed up Moon's Berlin initiative unveiled on July 6, under which he floated the idea of not only the military talks and family reunions but a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "at any time and any place, under the right conditions".

President Moon Jae-in's overture Monday clearly showed again that he prefers diplomacy over pressure or economic sanctions to try to improve ties between the two Koreas and persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons program. Moon's two conservative predecessors suspended large aid shipments and major cooperation projects, and cross-border communication hotlines have been shut down.

Japan supports new sanctions but also maintains that Russian Federation and China must do more to fully implement the current set of measures targeting their economic ties with North Korea. Suh said he expected a "positive response" to the idea, without elaborating on what he meant by hostility.

The call to conversation from the newly in-office President Moon marks a change in approach for the South Korean government's stance towards its northern neighbor. Seoul however says the group-12 waitresses and a restaurant manager- had defected to the South a year ago.

"And perhaps, if that went well, then it would set the scene for the Red Cross to be able to talk a bit more about the possibility of having family reunions this year", said Novak. His statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire USA within its striking distance. If realised, they would be the first for two years.

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