Amid High Tension, S. Korea Proposes Talks With North

They could lead to more family reunions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 17, 2017 7:41 AM CDT
South Korea Offers Talks With North
South Korean army soldiers pass by military vehicles deployed in the Korean War era at Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 17, 2017.   (Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s. It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach, notes the AP. But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the international standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4. If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015.

South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk proposed that defense officials from the two Koreas hold talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday on how to end hostile activities along the border. South Korea's acting Red Cross chief told a news conference that it wants separate talks at the border village on Aug. 1 to discuss family reunions. North Korea's state media didn't immediately respond to South Korea's proposals. But analysts say North Korea may accept the defense talks because it wants the South Korean army to halt loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that began after North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January 2016. Prospects for talks on family reunions are less rosy because North Korea has previously demanded that South Korea repatriate some North Korean defectors living in the South before any reunions take place. (More North Korea stories.)

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