UPDATE: South Korea Proposes Fresh Talks With North Korea
SEOUL (Alliance News) - South Korea has proposed a fresh round of military talks with Pyongyang, the Defence Ministry in Seoul said Monday, in a bid to de-escalate tensions on the border.
Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, as soon as Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.
The 4-kilometre-wide line acts as a buffer zone.
If a meeting takes place, it will mark the first military talks between the neighbours in three years. The ministry, which gave no agenda for the talks, said it was still waiting for an answer from Pyongyang.
The South has also proposed Red Cross talks to arrange brief reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
The last such reunions were held in 2015. Many of the surviving members of divided families are over 80 years old.
Tensions are currently running high on the Korean Peninsula, after a year in which the North has carried out two nuclear tests and numerous ballistic missile tests despite international condemnation and UN sanctions.
Its most recent test, of an intercontinental missile on July 4, confirmed fears it was a step closer to being able to hit the mainland US.
Despite the North's aggression and increasingly belligerent responses from Washington, South Korean President Moon Jae In has emphasized the importance of getting Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
By Dirk Godder