South Korea's new government proposes military talks with North Korea

S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

Despite condemning the ICBM test, South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday offered talks with North Korea, indicating for the first time since his inauguration in May that he wants to use dialogue to defuse the global standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

It remains to be seen whether the North will accept the proposal as it's still demanding South Korea repatriate twelve female North Koreans who defected to the South previous year.

The South's military has deployed dozens of giant loudspeakers along the tense border to blare out a mix of world news, K-pop songs and other propaganda targeting young North Korean soldiers.

If held, it would be the first such meeting between military authorities of the two sides since a working-level meeting that failed to produce an agreement on October 15, 2014, at Panmunjom, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Separately, the Red Cross proposed a meeting on 1 August to discuss the reunion of families separated by the division of the peninsula during the Korean War. Official talks between the sides have not been held since December 2015. North Korea's most recent missile test, which took place about three weeks ago, involved an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska.

A senior official said talks should aim to stop "all hostile activities that raise military tension" at the fortified border between the Koreas.

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"The way to a peaceful Korea will not be smooth with the North's missile development and ever-changing global affairs", Father Lee said.

Japan called Monday for increased pressure on North Korea, saying this is not a time for dialogue. But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

It is unclear whether North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will agree as he "remains suspicious" of his Seoul counterpart and his relationship with the United States, reports ABC news.

"I deeply agree with President Moon's direction for the future relations of the two Koreas", said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, conference president.

The ministers, who are meeting in Brussels, said they will "consider further appropriate responses" in line with the U.N. Security Council.

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