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South Korea's new government proposes rare military talks with


It came hours after the Ministry of National Defense proposed holding military talks with the North on Friday to reduce tensions, and the (South) Korea Red Cross suggested an August 1 meeting with its northern counterpart aimed at arranging an event for separated families to get reunited briefly.

The South has also proposed Red Cross talks to arrange brief reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

If the government meeting goes ahead, it will mark the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015.

The reunions are a highly emotional issue because most applicants are in their 70s or 80s and are desperate to see their loved ones before they die. North Korea has yet to respond to the latest overture. The last reunions were held in October 2015 at a resort at Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast.

Some say the outcome of military dialogue, even if it progresses, will be limited at a time when the North is demanding a halt to regular combined defense drills between the South and the United States, and sticking to its nuclear and missile programs as a means for survival, rather than a bargaining chip.

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Who is Moon Jae-in, South Korea's new president? The proposal is set to be the first follow-up measure for the "Berlin Vision" announced by President Moon Jae-in in Germany on July 6 as a step toward achieving a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea's policy is consistently centered on making the Korean Peninsula free from the threats of nuclear weapons and war, he said.

Mr. Moon was elected by promising to reach out to the North. If realised, they would be the first for two years.

The Moon administration is apparently seeking to start by re-establishing idle communication channels through issues that appeal to Pyongyang, such as the propaganda broadcasts and flyers and then holding the family reunions, a more urgent matter to Seoul.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says these latest proposals are in line with President Moon Jae-in's dual track policy to pursue both engagement with the Kim Jong Un government while also supporting USA led sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs. Moon's two conservative predecessors suspended large aid shipments and major cooperation projects, and cross-border communication hotlines have been shut down. Such dialogue was crucial for those who seek the end of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Ms. Ahn said there were no indications that Ms. Wright or any of the other activists would be barred from South Korea. His statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire US within its striking distance.

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