Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

18 Juillet, 2017, 04:02 | Author: Claudine Rigal

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with the North, after weeks of heightened tension following Pyongyang's long-range missile test.

"So far", Elise adds, "the North has not responded to the offer from Seoul".

South Korean Vice Minister of Defense Suh Choo-suk said the South's defense officials are proposing talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday to discuss how to end hostile activities along the border.

Those talks would be held on August 1, also in Panmunjom - that is, if Pyongyang accepts.

South Korea - the despised neighbour of the hermit state - made a formal request for military talks between the two countries.

The four-kilometre-wide line acts as a buffer zone.

But limits to the USA ability to persuade the rest of the world to treat North Korea's weapons program more harshly were also on display after the latest missile test. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called an emergency hearing of the Security Council after the launch, where she said a unified worldwide community could cut off hard currency, restrict the flow of oil and boost air and maritime restrictions on Pyongyang.

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Trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the USA and Japan has been key in efforts to get the North to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. When asked whether Seoul consulted with Washington, Cho replied that the countries "mutually cooperated" on the matter.

The country's Red Cross also wants to open talks of its own "to discuss restarting reunions between families separated by the Korean War", NPR's Elise Hu notes. But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

The group proposed the family reunion to be held on October 4, in time for the Chuseok holiday, Korea's harvest festival.

In a recent speech in Berlin, Mr Moon said dialogue with the North was more pressing than ever and called for a peace treaty to be signed.

North Korea imports nearly all of its oil and gas from China; most of that comes through CNPC.

The South Korean government under liberal President Moon Jae-in has stressed the need to reopen dialogue with the communist neighbor while also keeping sanctions in place. That means the USA needs to keep squeezing financial institutions in China and elsewhere "that are enabling North Korea to operate in the global financial world without which they would be in very desperate condition".

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