South Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

"The Defense Ministry proposes to hold a military talks between the two Koreas on July 21 at Tongilgak in North Korea to stop all hostile actions which heightens military tensions at the border", said Seoul's Vice Defense Minister Seo Joo-seok on Monday.

South Korea proposed military talks and family reunions with North Korea on Monday to reduce the increasing potential for conflict over Pyongyang's continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. This initiative is for the benefit of regional peace and development, he noted.

Pyongyang, however, has demanded Seoul turn over 12 waitresses who defected to the South previous year before it will agree to holding family reunions. "China will provide the necessary assistance", he said.

Monday's offer, the first since South Korea elected the moderate Moon Jae-In as president, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean war. South Korea's Red Cross said on Monday, July 17, 2017, it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

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.

North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Johnson said: "We remain absolutely determined to try to get the North Koreans to see sense and to continue to put pressure on the regime in Pyongyang and we think the best way to do that is, of course, is to put pressure on the Chinese and we are seeing some progress there but more to be done". "They can signal to the other side what they want, what problems or issues they have with the other side", said Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea analyst with Troy University in Seoul. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

The latest missile test - which Kim described as a "gift" to the Americans - was seen as a milestone in Pyongyang's quest to build a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can hit the USA mainland.

The defense ministry and the Red Cross asked Pyongyang to reply to the suggestion through the military hotline in the western region and the liaison office at Panmunjom, a truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The U.S. wants to toughen United Nations sanctions against the North, including restricting oil sales. "We look forward to the North side's positive response". Both Koreas prohibit their citizens from exchanging letters, phone calls and emails with people in the other country without government permission.

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