South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea amid growing hostility

A view from South Korea towards North Korea in the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom. North and South Korean military personnel as well as a single US soldier are shown

South Korea Proposes Military Talks with North Korea This Month

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with its northern neighbor, the first such talks since 2015.

Talks have been requested between high level military officials for July 21, and among Red Cross representatives from both countries on August 1.

Moon's proposal was laid out during his speech on July 6 in Berlin, where he proposed other engagement overtures toward North Korea, such as holding reunions of families separated by the war on October 4 and the invitation of North Korean delegates to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Despite the North's aggression and increasingly belligerent responses from Washington, South Korean President Moon Jae In has emphasized the importance of getting Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk told reporters at the defence ministry that South Korea offered talks of military authorities with North Korea to stop all hostile acts escalating military tensions near the military demarcation line.

An agenda has not been specified for the military meeting, but the Red Cross meeting would be expected to cover ways to resume family reunions with the Chuseok holiday coming up in October.

He said that the talks be held on 21 July, adding: "We expect a positive response from the North". Pyongyang has maintained that family reunions - as well as further humanitarian cooperation - will not take place until the South returns 13 "abducted" defectors to the North.

Military talks are likely between South Korea and North Korea, as South has extended an offer to North in this regard, after weeks of test a long-range missile by Pyongyang.

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.

Earlier, White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said, "The threat [from North Korea] is much more immediate now".

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