South Korea proposes talks with Pyongyang

South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk reads out a statement proposing inter Korean military talks at his ministry's press room

South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea this month

"The Defense Ministry proposes to hold a military talks between the two Koreas on July 21 at Tongilgak in North Korea to stop all hostile actions which heightens military tensions at the border", said Seoul's Vice Defense Minister Seo Joo-seok on Monday.

In his Berlin Vision, Moon proposed marking the 64th anniversary of the armistice agreement on July 27 by having South and North Korea "halt all hostile activities that raise military tensions" at the MDL.

Separately, South Korea asked the Red Cross to deliver a proposal to reopen talks on resuming reunions during a key fall holiday known as Chuseok for relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The last government-level meetings were held in December, 2015. North Korean state media later quoted some of the activists as praising the country's leaders, but organizers denied that the remarks had been made.

Some critics in South Korea and the United States opposed the Women Cross DMZ campaign, saying the activists' trip to North Korea would be used as propaganda by the North's repressive government.

Your correspondent believes the joint missile launches by the USA and South Korea were provocative, and that negotiations are the best way of finding a solution in the Korean peninsula. The proposal is set to be the first follow-up measure for the "Berlin Vision" announced by President Moon Jae-in in Germany on July 6 as a step toward achieving a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

But the vice minister declined to specify which acts of hostility were being referred to, but said that Seoul and Pyongyang would discuss the issues "in a comprehensive manner".

This offer of a dialogue is the first since the arrival to power in may of president Moon Jae-In, perceived as more open to negotiation than his predecessor.

"Meeting with their families while they are alive must be prioritized more than any other political concerns", said Kim Sun-hyang, acting president of South Korea's Red Cross.

The military demarcation line is the border that bisects the two Koreas.

The military has also occasionally launched giant balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

He singled out a group of 12 who fled while working at a North Korean restaurant in China previous year, and Kim Ryon-hui, a defector who requested to go back to her homeland in 2015.

It conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, claiming to have mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile. In 2015, her government deported a South Korean-born American citizen who had spoken warmly about her trips to North Korea in public appearances and articles in South Korea.

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