South Korea Proposes Military, Red Cross Talks With N Korea

South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

Suh said the talks would aim to "stop all acts of hostility that heighten military tensions on the Military Demarcation Line (MDL)".

"Talks and co-operation 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. "[The government] is looking forward to a positive response from the North Korean side".

Mr Cho also urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the North previous year in response to the South imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.

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An agenda has not been specified for the military meeting, but the Red Cross meeting would be expected to cover ways to resume family reunions with the Chuseok holiday coming up in October. Seoul's acting Red Cross chief Kim Sun Hyang said it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

The Korean Red Cross plans to dispatch three representatives to the DPRK, with secretary general Kim Gunn-joong leading the delegation.

Suh suggested the dialogue be held on July 21 in Tongilgak, a building in the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

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The last government level talks were held in December 2015. Pyongyang has maintained that family reunions - as well as further humanitarian cooperation - will not take place until the South returns 13 "abducted" defectors to the North.

North Korea's state media hasn't immediately responded to South Korea's overtures.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried a commentary by a private writer, on Saturday saying it seemed "fortunate" as Moon included his government's committment to the landmark joint declarations signed at the inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007.

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There was no immediate response by the North to the proposal on Monday for talks later this week.

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