South Korea makes first move, offers exchanges with North

South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk reads out a statement proposing inter Korean military talks at his ministry's press room

The government of President Moon Jae-in also made a separate proposal on reopening Red Cross talks to discuss ways to hold reunions of families separated by the Korean War in October.

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

Speaking at a news briefing, the South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said "talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea's nuclear problem".

"And perhaps, if that went well, then it would set the scene for the Red Cross to be able to talk a bit more about the possibility of having family reunions this year", said Novak. "There will be a response from North Korea".

The last such reunions were held in 2015. But 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 past year.

After the North announced the successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, Harris said it is getting "closer to being able to deliver a nuclear-equipped missile" to the US mainland.

President Moon Jae-in's overture Monday clearly showed again that he prefers diplomacy over pressure or economic sanctions to try to improve ties between the two Koreas and persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons program. The Korean War was halted with a cease-fire that left the peninsula still technically at war.

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We should never forget that ordinary North Koreans are suffering because of the Kim dynasty and its songun (military first) policy.

Seoul and Pyongyang remain far apart on the prospects of an eventual peace deal.

The ministry wants Pyongyang to restore its military communication line with a view to meeting Friday, leaving flexibility for the agenda and level of officials who would lead the talks.

During a speech in the capital of a reunited Germany this month, Moon repeated his openness to direct talks with the North Korean leader on everything, from weapons programs to outright peace.

Pyongyang announced the successful launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-14, on July 4.

The latest ICBM test - which Kim described as a "gift" to the Americans - was seen as a milestone in Pyongyang's quest to build a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can hit the United States mainland. The ministry also did not elaborate what it meant by hostile military activities. North Korea is seen as worrying that doing so could open the country to influence from more affluent South Korea and threaten the ruling party's grip on power.

The vice defence minister did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas.

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