South Korea Proposes Fresh Talks With North Korea

AP Explains Why is SKorea pushing for talks with NKorea

AP Explains Why is SKorea pushing for talks with NKorea

That's right, Mark. South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk proposed inter-Korean military talks this morning as a way to reduce tensions along the heavily-fortified border.

The American news agency cited a human rights organization based in South Korea, which claims that there are about 50,000 North Koreans in Russian Federation who are being exploited by their government. The last government-level meetings were held in December, 2015.

European Union sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of worldwide efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme that experts say is meant to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the U.S. mainland.

A policeman salutes at a junction featuring a portrait of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, April 11, 2012. The two sides technically remain at war but Moon, who came to power in May, has pledged to engage the North in dialogue as well as bring pressure to impede its nuclear and missile programs.

The South also proposed separate talks by the rival states' Red Cross organizations to resume a humanitarian project to reunite families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War in closely supervised events held over a few days.

"We will continue to strictly and earnestly implement the North Korea-related Security Council resolution in its entirety", said Geng at a regular news briefing.

There was no immediate response from North Korea.

"Meeting with their families while they are alive must be prioritized more than any other political concerns", said Kim Sun-hyang, acting president of South Korea's Red Cross. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

Last month, the European Union expanded its sanctions blacklist after North Korea launched a volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

China's foreign ministry welcomed Seoul's peace gesture, saying it hopes "the two sides will move in a positive direction to. break up the stalemate and to relaunch the dialogue and negotiations".

Beijing agreed in March 2016 to enforce United Nations sanctions following North Korea's test of a missile possibly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

If held, it would be the first dialogue between the military authorities of the two sides in nearly three years. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S. "My bipartisan legislation gives those that now conduct trade with North Korea a clear choice - either do business with this heinous outlaw regime or do business with the world's leading economic and military power".

On Monday, Seoul's Defense Ministry proposed talks at the border village of Panmunjom this Friday to discuss how to ease border-area tensions, while the Red Cross said it wants separate talks at Panmunjom on August 1 to discuss family reunions. He said Chinese imports from the North fell 36.5 percent in March, 41.6 percent in April and 31.6 percent in May.

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