South Korea's new government proposes rare military talks with

"[The South Korean government] hopes North Korea will reply to our proposal by restoring the [inter-Korean] military communication line in the region of the West Sea which is now severed", Suh said.

Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used in the past for inter-Korea talks.

South Korea has proposed talks with the North on easing border tensions and holding family reunions in what would be a step toward the new president's goal of renewing engagement despite rising tensions over the communist state's nuclear weapons program.

Separately, South Korean authorities also offered to restart Red Cross talks on August 1, to discuss options to resume family reunions on the Chuseok holiday in early October.

It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach to it.


North Korea has long demanded suspension of the allies' annual military drills and United States deployment of strategic assets as a precondition for inter-Korean dialogue.

The South is pushing for another round of reunions between elderly people who were separated after the 1950-53 Korean War.

Last week during a trip to Berlin, Moon delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of dialogue in the face of increasing tensions and the North's nuclearisation.

"So far", Elise adds, "the North has not responded to the offer from Seoul".

The government is likely North Korea's largest user of fuel products, but most petrol and diesel bought by ordinary citizens comes from private dealers and smugglers, experts say.


There are also reports of increased activity at the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility that could indicate plutonium production underway in the previous year to further increase the North's nuclear weapons stockpile. 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.

But experts said the resumption of the event may take a bumpy road since the communist state continued in the commentary to demand South Korea repatriate 12 female North Koreans who worked at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China and defected to Seoul en masse past year. "[The government] is looking forward to a positive response from the North Korean side".

Such dialogue was crucial for those who seek the end of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Seoul's defense minister has requested talks with Pyongyang later this week, and is asking the North to stop all hostile activities in the area.

While Cho says there is no "separation" between the USA and South Korea on dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat, Washington continues to emphasize pressure over dialogue and is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, according to US officials.



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