Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

South Korea offers olive branch to North with proposal for border talks

South Korea offers olive branch to North with proposal for border talks

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said, "Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea's nuclear problem".

While Seoul will be hoping to discourage maritime border incursions and the North's alleged use of spy drones, Pyongyang has been also unhappy about South Korea's attempts to penetrate the reclusive state with propaganda broadcasts across the border.

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 Koreas last convened for military talks in late 2014.

"We make the proposal of a meeting aimed to put an end to the hostile activities that make up the military tension along the land border", said in a press release the ministry of south Korean Defense.

South Korea's new government is making overtures to the North, proposing military talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two rivals.

The government is likely North Korea's largest user of fuel products, but most petrol and diesel bought by ordinary citizens comes from private dealers and smugglers, experts say. A previous joint event was held in October 2015 to arrange the reunion of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War. It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

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The South's Red Cross proposed holding the talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a Panmunjeom building controlled by the South.

Family reunification and humanitarian improvement are other goals alongside the de-escalating the nuclear and military conflict between the two Koreas.

The military has also occasionally launched giant balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. Seoul however says the group-12 waitresses and a restaurant manager- had defected to the South a year ago. Most recently, Pyongyang claimed to have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

He said that Seoul will "was not the collapse of the North or the unification through absorption of the North", and urged Pyongyang to re-establish the channels of communication inter-Korean. Ms. Ahn said there were no indications that Ms. Wright or any of the other activists would be barred from South Korea.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests since the beginning of past year and missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace.

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