Seoul proposes military talks with Pyongyang for next week

The meeting, proposed by the ministry would be the first meeting Korean official since December 2015.

South Korea on Monday offered military and Red Cross talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to ease military tensions along the inter-Korean border and resume humanitarian exchange between peoples of the two sides. The reunions are widely seen as a barometer of inter-Korean relations. The announcements came after North Korea signaled a willingness to consider Moon's overtures, despite voicing skepticism about the prospects for a breakthrough.

The U.S. has all military options available against North Korea, the chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, said Friday.

It is notable that the offer has been extended after the North test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, with claims of achieving the technology to set a nuclear warhead on the missile.

While in office, Ms. Park, who took a hard line on North Korea and its nuclear weapons program, had prevented South Korean nongovernmental organizations from making contact with the North. A previous joint event was held in October 2015 to arrange the reunion of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War.

The stakes have risen for Trump after North Korea's first successful test on July 4 of a missile that could reach Alaska, if not continental America.

But Pyongyang has staged a series of missile launches in violation of United Nations resolutions - most recently on July 4 when it test-fired its first ICBM, a move which triggered global alarm and a push by US President Donald Trump to impose harsher United Nations sanctions.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy, expressed doubt that the talks proposed Monday would lead to a breakthrough since North Korea has made clear it's not interested in denuclearization and President Donald Trump's administration is moving forward with sanctions. Just ten days remain before the 64th anniversary of the armistice agreement on July 27, when Moon proposed having both sides halt their hostile activities at the MDL. Also, there have been many cases of abductions of South Koreans, in addition to Pyongyang's reckless nuclear weapons programme.

South Korea and the North are divided by a heavily-fortified border. His statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire USA within its striking distance.

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

He said that Seoul will "was not the collapse of the North or the unification through absorption of the North", and urged Pyongyang to re-establish the channels of communication inter-Korean.

  • Joey Payne