Seoul Seeks New Talks With North Korea, Hoping To Tamp Down Tensions

S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

Also Monday, the South Korean Red Cross Society proposed a meeting at Panmunjom on August 1 with its North Korean counterpart, to arrange reunions of relatives in the North and South who have not seen each other since being separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Seoul wants to have the rare meeting Friday at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the truce village of Panmunjom, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

"We noticed the South Korean government sent a couple of positive messages in pushing to resolve the issues on the Korean Peninsula", Lu said, adding that China hopes both sides on the peninsula can work together toward the positive direction and create preconditions for breaking the current deadlock and restart of dialogue.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says these latest proposals are in line with President Moon Jae-in's dual track policy to pursue both engagement with the Kim Jong Un government while also supporting US led sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach to it.

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South Korea on Monday offered to hold military discussions with North Korea for the first time in almost three years in an effort to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk, right, speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 17, 2017.

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

If the government meeting goes ahead, it will mark the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015. -South Korea military drills. South Korea offered Monday to talk with North Korea to ease animos.

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

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Chances for talks on family reunions are slimmer as North Korea has already made it clear that it won't agree to a fresh reunion program unless Seoul returns some of the North Korean defectors living in the South who it says were abducted by South Korean agents.

Numerous estimated 60,000 South Koreans that have signed up to participate in these sporadically held inter-Korean reunions are elderly and have had virtually no contact with relatives living in the repressive North where contact with the outside world is highly restricted.

The two Koreas have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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 past year. "The last such reunions were almost two years ago". It recent test of an ICBM put it one step closer to its goal of developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.

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