South Korea offers talks on tensions and family reunions with North

Cesar Mills
July 17, 2017

China insisted Thursday it was abiding by UN sanctions on North Korea despite a jump in its trade with the nuclear-armed nation that comes amid growing USA calls for Beijing to rein in its neighbour.

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

U.S. President Donald Trump and his top aides have signaled growing impatience with China over North Korea, especially since Pyongyang last week test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts say could put all of Alaska in range for the first time.

If the North accepts the offer, the meeting would take place in Panmunjom, a truce village along the border guarded by thousands of troops on both sides. The last such talks were held in December 2015.

The dialogue was aimed at stopping all hostile acts that escalate military tensions near the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas, the vice minister said in a statement.

Cho also urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the North past year in response to the South imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.

The Korean Red Cross proposed to start meetings for the reunion of separated families Monday morning, saying that it's a humanitarian issue that comes before politics.

The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.

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South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea amid growing hostility
The vice defence minister did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas. Millions of families were separated by the conflict that sealed the division of the peninsula.

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"Since 1985, 20 rounds of reunions have been held".

By contrast, South Korea's population now stands at over 50 million, according to government statistics.

Earlier this month, Mr Moon reiterated he is willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if conditions are met.

Suh called on the DPRK to restore the military communications line in the western region to send a reply to South Korea's dialogue overture, expressing anticipation of the DPRK's positive response.

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.

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

Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior USA officials said.

Other reports by GizPress

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