Seoul proposes military talks with Pyongyang

The UK is "absolutely determined" to make North Korea "see sense" over its nuclear weapons testing, Boris Johnson said as he pushed for tougher action at talks in Brussels. 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.

Seoul wants to hold a meeting Friday in the truce village of Panmunjom aimed at halting "all acts of hostility" near the Military Demarcation Line that divides peninsula, the defense ministry said Monday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time that the measures were "in no way targeting China" but instead focused on "North Korea's external enablers".

The Trump administration last month took steps to penalize a Chinese bank, a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese citizens in an attempt to reduce North Korea's access to the worldwide financial system.

During a period of detente from 1998 to 2008, there was a flurry of talks and exchange programs between the two Koreas.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrates the successful test of the Hwasong-14 missile. The December 2015 talks at a now-stalled joint factory park in North Korea ended with no breakthroughs.

The proposed meetings, if realised, would be a "rare opportunity to ease tension that has built up for 10 years", said Cheong Seong-chang, analyst at the Sejong Institute, a thinktank.

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

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"So far", Elise adds, "the North has not responded to the offer from Seoul". About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

North Korea will likely accept Moon's proposed talks on easing border animosities, as it's something that it's previously called for.

"We're going to give these countries and these banks and companies a choice - continue to do business in the USA dollar or work with North Korea", Ruggiero said, regarding what the message should be to countries in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

If the talks are held, loudspeaker broadcasts, leafleting and South Korea-U.S. drills are expected to top the agenda.

Seoul's Red Cross says it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions. More than half of them are in their 80s or older.

Or, even before the sides sit down across the table, they could spend days and weeks engaged in a heated war of nerves over the rank of each other's chief negotiator and protocol, which have in the past resulted in the breakdown of talks.

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