Commander Says US Ready for Military Ops Against N.Korea

In a statement, Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk said on Monday, that the South's defense officials are proposing talks to be held at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday aimed at ending hostile activities along the border.

Military talks are likely between South Korea and North Korea, as South has extended an offer to North in this regard, after weeks of test a long-range missile by Pyongyang.

"Today's proposal was a step to ease tension and establish peace in the initial phase (of the new administration) while resolving the pressing matters like the separated families", Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said at a separate news conference.

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.

Some critics in South Korea and the United States opposed the Women Cross DMZ campaign, saying the activists' trip to North Korea would be used as propaganda by the North's repressive government.

This offer of a dialogue is the first since the arrival to power in may of president Moon Jae-In, perceived as more open to negotiation than his predecessor.

This is Seoul's first proposal for government-level talks with Pyongyang since President Moon Jae-in came to power in May.

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He also offered to hold reunions of families torn apart by the war on October 4, Korea's lunar fall harvest holiday and the 10th anniversary of the second inter-Korean summit.

Mr. Moon was elected by promising to reach out to the North.

"After North Korea's frequent missile tests including its very first ICBM test, the global community has vowed to tighten sanctions and China simply can not exclude itself from the recent movement, although it probably does not want to indefinitely cut off fuel sales to the North", Mr Kang said. Such dialogue was crucial for those who seek the end of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang put the world on notice when it conducted its first successful test of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4. Suh said he expected a "positive response" to the idea, without elaborating on what he meant by hostility. Seoul began blaring anti-Pyongyang broadcasts and K-Pop songs via border loudspeakers, and Pyongyang responded with its own border broadcasts and launches of balloons carrying anti-South leaflets.

It is unclear whether North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will agree as he "remains suspicious" of his Seoul counterpart and his relationship with the USA, reports ABC news. The two Koreas fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since the war ended.

South Korea and the North are divided by a heavily-fortified border.

The latest ICBM 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 U.S. mainland.

  • Megan Austin