S. Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North


S. Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

South Korea proposed to hold an inter-Korean military talk on Friday, July 21, at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the truce village of Panmunjom, the nation's vice defense minister, Suh Choo-suk, said at a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

"We make the proposal for a meeting ... aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the defence ministry said in a statement.

Separately, South Korea asked the Red Cross to deliver a proposal to reopen talks later this year on resuming reunions for relatives who were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

North and South Korea never officially signed a peace treaty, merely an armistice agreement to bring an end to the Korean War in 1953.

Moon has said he would use both dialogues and pressures to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program. Kim's statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire USA within its striking distance.

North Korea's state media hasn't immediately responded to South Korea's overtures.

The last such reunions were held in October 2015 during the government of Moon's predecessor under a futile push for reconciliation following a sharp increase in tension over border incidents involving a landmine blast and artillery fire.

The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1st, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year. But he has achieved little progress, with North Korea test-firing a series of newly developed missiles. South Korea and the United States, its main ally, dispute the claim.

The Oct. 4 declaration was the outcome of the inter-Korean summit that was held in Pyongyang in 2007 between late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader Kim Jong Un. But analysts say North Korea may accept the defense talks because it wants the South Korean army to halt loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that began after North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January 2016. Ruler Kim Jong-Un has said he would not give up nuclear ambitions until the USA ceases its hostility towards Pyongyang.

If the meeting is to take place as planned, it would be the first dialogue between the military authorities of the two sides in nearly three years; their previous meeting was held on October 15, 2014.

But the unification minister said the conditions for inter-Korean talks between the South and North Korean governments led by the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) "haven't been satisfied".

"If South and North Korea sit face-to-face, we will be able to have a heart-to-heart discussion over mutual interests".