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South Korea offers military talks with North Korea

South Korea offers military talks with North Korea

South Korea has proposed military talks with North Korea, the first formal overture to Pyongyang by the government of President Moon Jae-in, to discuss ways to avoid hostile acts near the heavily militarised border.

The South's defence ministry proposed a meeting on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, while the Red Cross offered to hold talks on 1 August at the same venue.

Earlier this month, Moon reiterated he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if conditions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and cooperate on the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The dialogue was created to hold a reunion event of families, who have been separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in armistice, on the occasion of the Chuseok holiday in early October.

After the North announced the successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, Harris said it is getting "closer to being able to deliver a nuclear-equipped missile" to the USA mainland. The North has yet to issue an official statement. During a speech in the capital of a reunited Germany this month, Moon repeated his openness to direct talks with the North Korean leader on everything from weapons programs to outright peace.

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The Red Cross said it hoped for a positive response from its counterpart in the North; mooted family reunions in early October would be the first in two years.

Mr. Moon proposed opening the talks with North Korea on July 21 in the border town of Tongilgak. The last government-level talks were held in December 2015. But he has achieved little progress, with North Korea test-firing a series of newly developed missiles. In past meetings, North Korea has demanded that the South stop holding joint military exercises with the United States and end the use of loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda along the border.

"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". But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

If held, it would be the first such meeting between military authorities of the two sides since a working-level meeting that failed to produce an agreement on October 15, 2014, at Panmunjom, according to Yonhap News Agency.