17 July, 2017
Amid the growing tensions between the two neighboring countries, South Korea has proposed to hold military talks with Pyongyang next week.
Seoul also offered a separate meeting between the two sides' Red Cross officials to arrange a fresh round of reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War on the Chuseok holiday on October 4, which is also the 10th anniversary of an inter-Korean peace declaration.
Cho Myoung-gyon, head of the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, later said in a press briefing Monday that South Korea had left enough wiggle room for the North, adding that the local government would flesh things out once Pyongyang reacts. Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned.
This computer generated image shows South Korea and North Korea shaking hands.
The U.S. has all military options available against North Korea, the chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, said Friday.
North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests since the start of 2017.
The proposals for the talks between the North and South come after the South's president said earlier this month at the G20 summit in Hamburg he was in favour of dialogue despite the "nuclear provocation" of the North's latest missile test.More news: Brace yourself: More ads are coming to Facebook Messenger
Your correspondent believes the joint missile launches by the US and South Korea were provocative, and that negotiations are the best way of finding a solution in the Korean peninsula. If realised, they would be the first for two years.
North Korea's state media didn't immediately respond to South Korea's proposals.
The North's latest ICBM launch has stoked security worries as it showed the country could eventually flawless a reliable nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.
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.
There are also reports of increased activity at the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility that could indicate plutonium production underway in the past year to further increase the North's nuclear weapons stockpile. His statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire USA within its striking distance. Moon's two conservative predecessors suspended large aid shipments and major cooperation projects, and cross-border communication hotlines have been shut down.
Through the olive branch to follow up on Moon's peace overture, the South hopes to lay the groundwork for easing tension and opening additional dialogue meant to persuade it to suspend provocations, freeze its weapons of mass destruction program and expand inter-Korean economic cooperation.
A separated family reunion applicant corrects his information at the headquarters of South Korea's Red Cross in Seoul on Monday.