South Korea proposes military talks with Pyongyang to stop hostile acts

The South Korean Red Cross proposed talks with the North to discuss reunions of families separated during the Korean War.

The offer of talks, the first since South Korea elected dovish President Moon Jae-In, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea on Monday offered military and Red Cross talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to ease military tensions along the inter-Korean border and resume humanitarian exchange between peoples of the two sides.

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If the government meeting goes ahead, it will mark the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015.

Moon, who took power in May, has advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed North as a means of bringing it to the negotiating table as tensions soar over its weapons ambitions.

Moon has said he would use both dialogues and pressures to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program.

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Many defectors from the North left in the 1990s during a period of starvation in which between 600,000 and 3.5 million people died, and 30,805 people have fled to the South in total since the country split in 1953 following the Korean War. Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South previous year.

North Korea's most recent test of what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile may have been conducted to not only warn the United States, but to also drive a wedge between South Korea and China, two countries with burgeoning economic ties. Kim's statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire US within its striking distance.

Almost all defectors to the South first stop in China, as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from the Republic of Korea (ROK) is one of the most fortified places in the world.

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Security forces have announced a manhunt for the remaining 10 prisoners. They then proceeded to the second floor and jumped out of the building.

In an act to rein in the North, the United States is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, two senior USA officials said last week.

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