South Korea proposes rare military talks with North at Panmunjom

South Korea proposes rare military talks with North at Panmunjom”

Meanwhile, the White House has given an initial response to South Korea's proposals for talks, which seemed to suggest some opposition.

Separately, South Korea asked the Red Cross to deliver a proposal to reopen talks later this year on resuming reunions for relatives who were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the global standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and vowed a firm response.

The United States, South Korea's main ally, which has been trying to rally global support for tougher sanctions on North Korea, appeared cool to the proposal, recalling President Donald Trump's statements that conditions must be right for dialogue.

Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, on Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.

When Moon visited Washington after being elected president, he and Trump said they were open to renewed dialogue with North Korea but only under circumstances that would lead to Pyongyang giving up its weapons programmes.

China has repeatedly said its trade with North Korea doesn't violate United Nations sanctions.

The firm is among ten Chinese firms listed in a bill recently presented by U.S. Senator, Cory Gardner, which seeks to block any firm that significantly trades with North Korea from accessing the U.S. financial system. Analysts say South Korea may be willing to suspend loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that are highly critical of the North Korean leader to re-establish contact.

Moon suggested this month that hostile military activities at the border be ended on July 27, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement.

It asked Pyongyang to respond via an inter-Korean hotline, which was cut off by the North previous year.

South Korea's foreign minister is pushing to meet with her Chinese and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of ASEAN-related conferences scheduled for early next month, officials said Tuesday. They include the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is known for being a rare worldwide event annually joined by North Korea.

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