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

South Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

South Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

Most recently, Pyongyang claimed to have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Kim's statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire US within its striking distance.

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.

Separately, the South Korean Red Cross suggested to its North Korea counterpart holding dialogue about the reunion of families, who have been separated after the 1950-1953 Korean War for decades along the inter-Korean border.

The South's defence ministry proposed a meeting on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, while the Red Cross offered to hold talks on 1 August at the same venue. South Korea offered Monday to talk with North Korea to.

Moon, who took power in May, has advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed North as a means of bringing it to the negotiating table and vowed to play a more active role in global efforts to tame the South's unpredictable neighbour.

It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach to it.

A peace treaty, which would allow the North Korean regime to ease its militaristic outlook, would be crucial to persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions. The North recently voiced suspicion over Moon's North Korea policy, and some conservatives in South Korea worry that his overture might weaken worldwide pressure on North Korea.

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The last inter-Korean governmental talks were held in 2015.

Outside experts believe the South Korean broadcasts and leaflets sting in Pyongyang more because the authoritarian country worries that the broadcasts will demoralize front-line troops and residents and eventually weaken the grip of absolute leader Kim Jong Un.

When asked whether the South would "be flexible" on its joint military drills with the US, Cho responded that the issue was not one which Seoul had discussed directly yet.

Previously, Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South a year ago.

The latest missile test - which Kim described as a "gift" to the Americans - was seen as a milestone in Pyongyang's quest to build a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can hit the United States mainland.

If held, it would be the first such meeting between military authorities of the two sides since a working-level meeting that failed to produce an agreement on October 15, 2014, at Panmunjom, according to Yonhap News Agency.

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