South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 17, 2017

The move is, reportedly, part of "follow-up" measures to those proposed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in his "Berlin Doctrine" speech last month, in which he called for Pyongyang to halt "acts of hostility around the Military Demarcation Line (MDL)" between the two Koreas.

"[The South Korean government] hopes North Korea will reply to our proposal by restoring the [inter-Korean] military communication line in the region of the West Sea which is now severed", Suh said.

"Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea's nuclear problem", the South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a news briefing.

Still, the paper expressed "relief" that Moon has signaled a departure from the policies of his conservative predecessors. 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.

Moon's government proposed two sets of talks to discuss how to dial down tensions and resume reunions of aging Koreans separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The South's military has deployed dozens of giant loudspeakers along the tense border to blare out a mix of world news, K-pop songs and other propaganda targeting young North Korean soldiers. South Korea and the United States, its main ally, dispute the claim. The North recently voiced suspicion over Moon's North Korea policy, and some conservatives in South Korea worry that his overture might weaken global pressure on North Korea. The dialogue was suspended by increased cross-border tension following the North's missile and nuclear activities. But his push has reported little progress with the North test-firing a series of newly developed missiles since Moon's May 10 inauguration. Ruler Kim Jong-Un has said he would not give up nuclear ambitions until the USA ceases its hostility towards Pyongyang. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

Previously, Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South past year.

The last such meetings were held in 2015, when fewer than 100 elderly Koreans from each side were allowed to spend three days with their family members.

"The President has directed us to not do that and to prepare a range of options, including a military option, which nobody wants to take".

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