Seoul offers military talks with Pyongyang

Seoul proposed military talks on Friday and Red Cross talks on August 1 to discuss ways to ease tensions along their shared border and resume reunions of families separated in the 1950-53 Korean War. A government official, who asked not to be named, said Sunday that relevant ministries are discussing the plan.

North Korea's state media hasn't immediately responded to South Korea's overtures. The commentary added that the first step to mend relations should be solving fundamental issues, such as military confrontation.

Washington and Seoul have further angered Pyongyang by the controversial deployment of the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system to the restive peninsula to counter what they call the North's "threats". "We hope that North and South Korea can work hard to go in a positive direction and create conditions to break the deadlock and resume dialogue and consultation", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing.

(Stand-up) "Most watchers say there's a good chance North Korea will agree to hold the talks, but it may propose another date. not July 21st as the South suggested".

The North's latest ICBM launch has stoked security worries as it showed the country could eventually flawless a reliable nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. South Korea and the United States, its main ally, dispute the claim.

Moon has said he will use both dialogue and pressure to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Analysts say the ICBM that was tested could reach Alaska. North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group made a decision to defect of its own free will.

However, the North's frequent missile tests, including the most recent one of an intercontinental ballistic missile, are in consistent violation of United Nations resolutions and have alarmed its neighbours and the US.

After the launch, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said he would never negotiate his weapons programmes unless the United States abandons its hostile policy toward his country.

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 after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China. The proposal aims to mutually halt acts of hostility along the border as of July 27 which is the 64th anniversary of the Armistice Treaty that ended the three-year Korean War in a ceasefire in 1953.

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