Time runs out for South Korea-proposed army talks with North Korea: Seoul
Seoul on Friday approved a proposal in rare inter-Korean military talks, the North refused to respond to the South’s offer to open a dialogue to ease tensions.
Seoul had proposed to hold rare talks this week Panrenjom village on the border border to relieve hostilities after a series of missile tests this year.
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But the North remained silent until now, prompting the South Defense Ministry admitted that it was “almost” impossible for the meeting to move forward.
“It is urgent to reduce tensions between the two Koreas … to achieve peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” said Moon Sang-Kyun, a ministry spokesman. “We urge the North to respond to our offer of negotiations,” he added. He told me.
The military talks would mark the first official talks since December 2015.
The North has also kept silent about an offer by the South Red Cross to meet August 1 by discussing potential meetings for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
Millions of families were separated by the conflict that sealed the division of the peninsula. Many died without having the opportunity to see or hear their loved ones on the other side of the border, through which all civil contacts are prohibited.
A former North Korean official to AFP last month that Pyongyang would rule out more family gatherings unless Seoul returns a group of North Koreans who have defied the South last year.
The twin proposals Monday are the first concrete steps towards the rapprochement with the North president since South Korea was elected pessimistic Moon Jae-in in May.
Luna has called for dialogue with the North with nuclear weapons to bring him to the negotiating table and is committed to playing an active role in global efforts to tame the unpredictable regime.
His conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, refused to engage in substantive dialogue with Pyongyang unless he is firmly committed to denuclearization.
But Pyongyang has carried out a series of missile launches in violation of UN resolutions in recent months, including its first ICBM July 4 test which sparked a worldwide alarm and pressure from US President Donald Trump to impose Sanctions at the UN.
The United States has recently detected signs of possible preparations for another test of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the North, CNN reported today, citing US officials.
But Cho Han-Bum, an analyst at the Korean Institute for National Unification, said there were still chances that Pyongyang could respond to the peace gesture.
“The North often takes a long time before responding to Seoul’s dialogue offers, to offer its own counter-proposals,” Cho said.
Pyongyang may require a new US-South Korean military exercise to be suspended or that the level of talks is high at a high ministerial level, he added.