South Korea Proposes Fresh Talks With North Korea

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Last time Seoul and Pyongyang held intergovernmental talks in late 2015.

Pyongyang announced the successful launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-14, on July 4.

Tensions are now running high on the Korean Peninsula, after a year in which the North has carried out two nuclear tests and numerous ballistic missile tests despite global condemnation and United Nations sanctions. South Korea has offered on Monday, July 17, 2017 to talk with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s. "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".

Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used for previous inter-Korea talks.

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The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.

Asked whether Seoul was open to talks on halting joint military drills with the United States, which Pyongyang has persistently demanded in the past, Cho said only that the two Koreas would "freely discuss matters of mutual interest".

The proposals come after Moon said at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month that he was in favor of dialogue with the North despite the "nuclear provocation" of its latest missile test. University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin predicted, "North Korea could agree to inter-Korean military talks, since it was one of the things - along with a large-scale reunification meeting - proposed by the Korean Workers' Party at its 7th party Congress [in May 2016]".

Referring to Moon as the "chief executive of South Korea", without directly mentioning his real name, the commentary read that his speech meant to "escalate confrontation with the compatriots in the North and stifle them with the backing of outsiders", and that it was "characterized by nonsensical sophism putting a brake on the efforts" for achieving inter-Korean peace and repairing bilateral relations. A senior official with the Ministry of National Defense said it was "continuing to hold discussions on inter-Korean military talks with the Ministry of Unification and other agencies involved in practical matters". The last family reunion was held in October that year.

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