South Korea offers military, Red Cross talks with DPRK

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2017

Moon has said he will use both dialogue and pressure to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Ruler Kim Jong-Un has said he would not give up nuclear ambitions until the U.S. ceases its hostility towards Pyongyang. Given the "comprehensive" nature of the talks, the headstrong regime may also bring up South Korea-US joint military drills, the dispatch of US strategic assets, the deployment of the US' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense here, and other issues from which Seoul could not budge.

He also offered to hold reunions of families torn apart by the war on October 4, Korea's lunar fall harvest holiday and the 10th anniversary of the second inter-Korean summit.

If held, it would be the first high-level talks between the Koreas since December 2015, when the sides met in a failed effort to build on an agreement to end an armed border confrontation in the fall of that year.

South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.

Seoul wants to have the meeting at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the truce village of Panmunjom, the South Korean Ministry of National Defence said on Monday (17 July). Three people, including the general secretary of the Korean Red Cross, would attend the August 1 discussions if they are given the green light, the group said in its statement.

Iron ore imports from North Korea surged, with China arguing that the United Nations sanctions resolution allows for trade if the income is used for the livelihood of civilians. Analysts say South Korea may be willing to suspend loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that are highly critical of the North Korean leader to re-establish contact.

He said that Seoul will "was not the collapse of the North or the unification through absorption of the North", and urged Pyongyang to re-establish the channels of communication inter-Korean.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says these latest proposals are in line with President Moon Jae-in's dual track policy to pursue both engagement with the Kim Jong Un government while also supporting USA led sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

"But I'm not sure if North/South Korea dialogue could be an important trigger point that could change the mood", he said. Both sides moved to take down loudspeakers and halt all propaganda broadcasts after the agreement, but the broadcasts were resumed under the Park Geun-hye administration in January 2016 following North Korea's fourth nuclear test.

"[We] hope the DPRK Red Cross Society will respond to our suggestion through the liaison office of the South and North Korean Red Cross in Panmunjom", Kim said. The conflict concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty and the two Koreas are still technically at war, so that cross-border communications, letters or telephone calls are prohibited.

"We can never allow a war on the Korean Peninsula ever again". "We also hope that the global community will understand and support constructive efforts of both parties".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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