South Korea proposes talks with North to ease border tensions
For the first time since negotiations broke down in December 2015, South Korea has reached out to the North to resume peace talks in an effort to ease animosities between the two nations.
South Korea’s Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk has suggested that the talks be held on July 21st in Tongilgak, a building within the Panmunjom Compound in a North Korean controlled area of the DMZ which had been used during the previous negotiations.
As of now, North Korea are yet to reply to the South’s proposal.
President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in has been very vocal of his desire to have a more open dialogue with the North and believes these conversations between the nations are paramount to ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
The test of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month left many countries, not the least of which the US very concerned by the disregard shown towards UN resolutions by the regime.
Moon has suggested that all hostile military activities be halted on 27 July, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. While not elaborating on these "hostile" activities he has previously called for an end to the provocative messages played via loudspeaker through the DMZ.
For its part, North Korea has been calling for an end to the joint US-South Korean military drills held on their side.
South Korea’s Red Cross proposed separate talks be held in an effort to reunite families separated by the border. However, North Korea has long stated that they would not engage in talks until the South had returned several high profile defectors.
In an effort to bring effective pressure to bear on North Korea, the US is reportedly preparing to put in place new sanctions on Chinese Banks and investors doing business with the North which may come into effect possibly in the next few weeks.