Japan says this is a time to raise pressure on North Korea

Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong

Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong

On Monday, Seoul's Defense Ministry proposed talks at the border village of Panmunjom this Friday to discuss how to ease border-area tensions, while the Red Cross said it wants separate talks at Panmunjom on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

Millions of Koreans were divided by the 1950-53 war and many relatives have died without seeing each other since the separation. The talks would be held next week at the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon reiterated earlier this month he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if conditions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and cooperate on the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"They would at least help relieve some of the pressure of the current crisis, even if the North maintained that he did not intend to abandon its military programs", he said.

The threat from North Korea is rising to a new level as the country makes headway in its missile and nuclear ambitions, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The price of gasoline sold by private dealers in Pyongyang and the northern border cities of Sinuiju and Hyesan jumped to $2.18 per kg ($2.92 per liter) as of July 5, up 50 percent from $1.46 per kg on June 21, according to Reuters analysis of data collected by the Daily NK website.

But limits to the US ability to persuade the rest of the world to treat North Korea's weapons program more harshly were also on display after the latest missile test. Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, called an emergency hearing of the Security Council after the launch, where she said a unified global community could cut off hard currency, restrict the flow of oil and boost air and maritime restrictions on Pyongyang.

Seoul proposes military talks with Pyongyang
Without the hotline, the two militaries have no means of communicating quickly and directly to avoid an unintended conflict. After the North fired an ICBM on July 4, Moon quickly condemned the launch as a "reckless" and "irresponsible" provocation.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South past year after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China.

"We anticipate the North's side making a positive response" to the proposal, Suh said.

"We will consider the normalization of dialogue between the South and the North, monitoring the latter's position on denuclearization", the unification minister said, as quoted by the agency. That means the USA needs to keep squeezing financial institutions in China and elsewhere "that are enabling North Korea to operate in the global financial world without which they would be in very desperate condition".

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with its northern neighbor, the first such talks since 2015.

President Donald Trump aired his frustration on Beijing by tweeting: "Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter".

Experts add that South Korean capital Seoul, which has no missile defence, would be a "sitting duck" for the despot nation.

The proposed dialogue would be aimed at decreasing the tensions in the region.

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