South Korea proposes military talks with North Korea amid growing hostility

“Defence Ministry requests military talks with the North to stop all hostile activities that raise military tensions at the military demarcation line”, said South Korea’s Vice-Defence Minister, Suh Choo Suk.

In a speech on July 6, President Moon said his government would push for a peace treaty with North Korea, as part of a comprehensive solution to the crisis over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Mr Moon suggested earlier this month hostile military activities at the border be ended on 27 July, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean Red Cross proposes holding a meeting at Panmunjom’s Peace House on August 1st to address humanitarian issues including the reunion of separated families in light of the Chuseok holiday”. Last time Seoul and Pyongyang held intergovernmental talks in late 2015.

Tensions are now running high on the Korean Peninsula, after a year in which the North has carried out two nuclear tests and numerous ballistic missile tests despite worldwide condemnation and United Nations sanctions. But Moon’s push was overshadowed by the North’s July 4 launch of an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea will likely accept Moon’s proposed talks on easing border animosities, as it’s something that it’s previously called for.

Your correspondent believes the joint missile launches by the US and South Korea were provocative, and that negotiations are the best way of finding a solution in the Korean peninsula.

The Defense Ministry offered talks with Pyongyang counterparts on Monday, while the National Red Cross floated reunion events for families split by decades of hostilities.

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

Japan supports new sanctions but also maintains that Russian Federation and China must do more to fully implement the current set of measures targeting their economic ties with North Korea.

There are also reports of increased activity at the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility that could indicate plutonium production underway in the past year to further increase the North’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South previous year after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China. It was the Moon government’s first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration. Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned.