South Korea Proposes Fresh Talks With North Korea

18 Juillet, 2017, 02:33 | Author: Claudine Rigal

It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration. Such dialogue was crucial for those who seek the end of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

Quintana said this second visit to South Korea presents him a great opportunity to hear more about South Korea's policies and approach toward the situation in the North.

If the government meeting goes ahead, it will mark the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has long signaled he wants closer engagement with the North.

The South Korean official added that the meeting aims to stop "all acts of hostility" near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) that divides the two nations on the Korean Peninsula.

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

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Seoul also plans to propose Red Cross talks to North Korea to hold reunions of separated families. Seoul suggested that the talks between representatives of the two countries' armies be held at the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two foes on the Korean Peninsula. Around 19,000 Koreans have been allowed to participate in 20 rounds of face-to-face reunions since 1985, when the first gatherings were held.

But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the global standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and vowed a firm response.

At the time it claimed the missile could "reach anywhere in the world", though based on a standard trajectory analysts say the long-range weapon could potentially reach Alaska.

It is unclear whether North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will agree as he "remains suspicious" of his Seoul counterpart and his relationship with the United States, reports ABC news.

If the talks are held, loudspeaker broadcasts, leafleting and South Korea-U.S. drills are expected to top the agenda.

China's foreign ministry welcomed Seoul's peace gesture, saying it hopes "the two sides will move in a positive direction to. break up the stalemate and to relaunch the dialogue and negotiations".

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