S. Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

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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 President Donald Trump to impose harsher United Nations sanctions on the country.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has said for many years that he would like cooperation and closer engagement with the North, and the missile tests have proved to be a catalyst for action.

As another follow-up measure to Moon's initiative, the South Korean Red Cross proposed to its DPRK counterpart holding humanitarian talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a building in the South Korean side of Panmunjom.

South Korea has sent a proposal to North Korea for talks on easing military tensions and the reunion of separated families, Seoul's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Red Cross said on Monday.

South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk proposed on Monday that defense officials from the two Koreas hold talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday on how to end hostile activities along the border.

Military talks are likely between South Korea and North Korea, as South has extended an offer to North in this regard, after weeks of test a long-range missile by Pyongyang.

The threat from North Korea has already sent sales of underground bunkers soaring in Japan, a USA ally that is already within the range of missiles from Pyongyang.

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Cho stressed that Seoul "would not seek collapse of the North or unification through absorbing the North" and urged Pyongyang to restore inter-Korea communication channels, including a shuttered military hotline. 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 last such reunions were held in October 2015 during the government of Moon's predecessor under a futile push for reconciliation following a sharp increase in tension over border incidents involving a landmine blast and artillery fire. Ruler Kim Jong-Un has said he would not give up nuclear ambitions until the U.S. ceases its hostility towards Pyongyang.

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

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 previous year.

If the talks are held, loudspeaker broadcasts, leafleting and South Korea-U.S. drills are expected to top the agenda.

If such activities pick up again in October as the South Korea's Red Cross hopes, they would be the first to take place in over two years.

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