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

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

The biggest factor in Seoul's rush to propose military talks with Pyongyang appears to be its sense that time is of the essence.

The offer comes after the North claimed to have conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM earlier this month, and said it had mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile.

South Korea has suggested holding a meeting on Friday in the so-called Joint Security Area in the Korean Demilitarized zone, the de-facto border between the two countries, according to Deputy Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk.

The South Korean defense ministry proposed talks with the North on July 21 at Tongilgak to stop all activities that fuel tension at the military demarcation line.

The proposed legislation is also the latest sign the United States is no longer waiting for China to increase pressure on firms within its borders that have been engaged in either hiring North Korean workers or trading with Pyongyang. The December 2015 talks at a now-stalled joint factory park in North Korea ended with no breakthroughs.

With North Korea pushing to expand its nuclear and missile arsenals, relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in decades.

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The group proposed the family reunion to be held on October 4, in time for the Chuseok holiday, Korea's harvest festival.

If a meeting takes place, it will mark the first military talks between the neighbours in three years.

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.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., stated last Thursday the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, would "ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers.and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating on North Korean labor trafficking abuses". But U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council earlier this month that if it is united, the worldwide community can cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons programs, increase air and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials accountable.

This is his second visit to South Korea since taking the post past year. A senior official with the Ministry of National Defense said it was "continuing to hold discussions on inter-Korean military talks with the Ministry of Unification and other agencies involved in practical matters".

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