South Korea offers military talks with North Korea

Posted July 17, 2017

This coincided with a separate proposal on the resumption of Red Cross talks for the reunion of separated families during the Chuseok holiday in October.

The dialogue was created to hold a reunion event of families, who have been separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in armistice, on the occasion of the Chuseok holiday in early October. FILE - In this October 22, 2015, file photo, North Korean Son Kwon Geun, center, weeps with his South Korean relatives as he bids farewell after the Separated Family Reunion Meeting at Diamond Mountain resort in North Kore.

But the unification minister said the conditions for inter-Korean talks between the South and North Korean governments led by the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) "haven't been satisfied". The acting president of the Korean Red Cross Kim Sun-hyang said it's rare to hold such briefings, but given the urgency, with most of the separated family members over age 80, the reunion of separated families is a critical humanitarian issue that comes before politics.

In the proposal for talks, South Korea did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas.

It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

North Korea may return to dialogue, responding to a South Korean olive branch Monday, but even so, the talks are unlikely to produce meaningful results toward easing tensions on the peninsula, experts said Monday.

Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk said in a statement at the defense ministry that South Korea proposed to the DPRK for holding talks of the military authorities on Friday at Tongilgak, a building in the DPRK side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

North Korea has long demanded suspension of the allies' annual military drills and United States deployment of strategic assets as a precondition for inter-Korean dialogue. "[The government] is looking forward to a positive response from the North Korean side".

The reunions are a highly emotional issue because most applicants are in their 70s or 80s and are desperate to see their loved ones before they die.

In recent years, Seoul and its ally Washington have expressed deep concerns about the North's missile and nuclear programs. Both Koreas prohibit their citizens from exchanging letters, phone calls and emails with people in the other country without government permission. "Otherwise, North Korea would take advantage of us and we would not get what we want during talks". Two days after, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States was prepared to use the full range of capabilities, including military options, to defend the country and its allies against North Korea.