Sunday, 22 April, 2018

South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea amid growing hostility

Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 10:12

The last government-level meetings were held in December, 2015.

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

Arirang reports the two countries haven't had military talks like this since 2014.

The White House said Monday that current conditions are "far away" from those needed to reopen dialogue with North Korea as South Korea proposed inter-Korean military and family reunion talks.

Seoul's proposal for two sets of talks indicates President Moon Jae-in is pushing to improve ties with Pyongyang despite the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile this month.

However, the South said it couldn't fulfill either demand because it's a liberal democracy. U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at China's trade with North Korea in a tweet last week, claiming it had grown "almost 40 percent" in the first quarter of this year.

On the other hand, North Korea has not responded to the South's proposal yet.

Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used for previous inter-Korea talks.

But Seoul's Unification Ministry said that the government has fully explained its dialogue offer to the US via diplomatic channels, adding that there is no gap in assessing conditions for talks aimed at North Korea's denuclearization. South Korea and the United States dispute the claim.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests since the beginning of previous year and missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace.

The Trump administration is weighing news sanctions on small Chinese banks and shell corporations linked to North Korea, Reuters reported Thursday.