Thursday, 27 July, 2017

South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea

Jang Chang-ha president of the Academy of National Defense Science seen sitting next to leader Kim Jong-un Jang Chang-ha president of the Academy of National Defense Science seen sitting next to leader Kim Jong-un
Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 08:21

If the communist state agrees, it would be the first inter-Korean military contact since October 2014.

That same day, a separate Rodong Sinmun article called a USA strike against North Korea "a very foolish act of precipitating self-ruin" that would effectively put an end to "the empire of America".

Tongilgak is a North Korean building in the village of Panmunjom, which straddles the demarcation line that divides the countries.

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

The government is likely North Korea's largest user of fuel products, but most petrol and diesel bought by ordinary citizens comes from private dealers and smugglers, experts say.

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

In the first six months of this year, trade between China and North Korea increased 10.5 percent to United States dollars 2.5 billion, compared to the same period last year, according to official figures from Beijing.

It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year. The dialogue was suspended by increased cross-border tension following the North's missile and nuclear activities.

North Korea gets most of its fuel from China, with some coming from Russian Federation.

Last year, China shipped to North Korea more than 96,000 tonnes of gasoline and almost 45,000 tonnes of diesel, worth a combined $64 million.

North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan. But he has achieved little progress, with North Korea test-firing a series of newly developed missiles. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests. South Korea offered Monday to talk with North Korea to. In his speech in Berlin, Moon said he was ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "under the right conditions", and proposed resuming meetings of family members who were separated by the Korean War.

Reuters also notes that North Korea has demanded the return of twelve waitresses who defected to South Korea previous year as a precondition for talks.

The agenda for the meeting could include moves to suspend propaganda campaigns operated on both sides of the border for years, Cheong added.

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.