South Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

Vincent Carr
July 17, 2017

But Pyongyang has staged a series of missile launches in violation of United Nations resolutions, most recently on 4 July when it test-fired its first ICBM, a move which triggered global alarm and a push by the USA president, Donald Trump, to impose harsher United Nations sanctions on the country.

The South's Red Cross delivered the offer of holding the talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a Panmunjom building controlled by the South.

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The South Korean president, who took office May 10, is looking to ease tensions over Kim's pursuit of a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S., Seoul's primary security ally.

South Korea's Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk said the talks could be held on 21 July at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the Panmunjom compound in the demilitarised zone.

The proposal is created to follow up on President Moon Jae-in's offer to suspend "all acts of hostile activities" at the cross-border region as of July 27, when the two Koreas mark the 64th anniversary of the armistice treaty that ended the Korean War in 1953, the ministry added.

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.

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North Korea says South Korea abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but South Korea has said the group made a decision to defect of its own free will.

"We make the proposal for a meeting".

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.

"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.

Pictures showing some reunions of family members from North and South Korea are displayed at the headquarters of the Korea Red Cross in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 17, 2017.

North Korea has said that the 12 female workers involved in a mass-defection to South Korea in April previous year and Kim Ryon Hui - who has said she wishes to return to her homeland after, she claims, mistakenly defecting in 2011 - must be returned to the North.

It conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, claiming to have mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile.

Other reports by BadHub

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