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S. Korea offers inter-Korean military talks on easing border tensions

President Moon Jae-in gives a speech at the Old Town Hall in Berlin on July 6. /Yonhap President Moon Jae-in gives a speech at the Old Town Hall in Berlin on July 6. /Yonhap
Eleena Tovar | 18 Julio, 2017, 02:57

South Korea on Monday proposed military talks with North Korea, the first formal overture to Pyongyang by the government of President Moon Jae-in, to discuss ways to avoid hostile acts near the heavily militarised border.

"The resounding success of the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 has fully demonstrated the will and capability of the DPRK to annihilate the US by a single blow to the very heart of its mainland in case it fails to act with discretion", a spokesman for the ministry said in a statement published by state news agency KCNA.

Although some observers expressed optimism that North Korea would accept the offer, Yonhap postulates that North Korea will sabotage negotiations by unreasonably demanding an end to South Korean drills with the United States while refusing to budge on its own nuclear and ICBM programs. "It is our consistent goal to pursue peace in the Korean peninsula with no nuclear and war threats", he told reporters. North Korea sometimes rebuffs South Korean diplomatic advances by treating "reunification" as a South Korean scheme to topple the Kim regime and effectively reintegrate the Korean peninsula by conquest. Prospects for talks on family reunions are less good because North Korea has previously demanded that South Korea repatriate some North Korean defectors living in the South before any reunions take place, according to the analysts.

Bill also seeks increased deployment of key US assets, including missile defense systems, long-range strategic bombersOn July 14, the US House of Representatives passed an annual defense policy bill that asks the US government to submit a plan for strengthening joint military exercises, military cooperation and missile defense with allies in response to North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch.

"We request military talks with the North on July 21 at Tongilgak to stop all hostile activities that raise military tension at the military demarcation line", Vice-Defence Minister Suh Choo Suk told a media briefing.

A barbed-wire fence separating North Korea from China is seen in this photo taken from the Chinese border city of Hunchun, China, March 18, 2015.

In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

Seoul's Red Cross says it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions, with possible reunions over the Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.

North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan.

Johnson said progress was being made with calls for China to use its influence on Pyongyang, but there was "more to be done".

North Korea gets most of its fuel from China, with some coming from Russia.

The UN's 2017 Report from the Panel of Experts on North Korea accused Pyongyang of supplying guided rockets and missiles to Sudan in 2013.

Millions of families were separated by the conflict that sealed the division of the two countries.

Continued North Korea provocations, however, is pushing Washington toward stepping up unilateral sanctions, a move Beijing has opposed.

China can expect more banks to suffer the fate of the Bank of Dandong.