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South Korea Proposes Inter-Korean Talks at Defense Minister Level

July 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—The South Korean government has proposed holding talks with North Korea on July 21, at the level of defense ministers, in an effort to reduce military tensions between the two sides, reports the Korea Herald.

"In order to suspend hostile activities at the military demarcation line, we propose holding an inter-Korean military talk at Tongilgak," the North Korean building inside the Panmunjom truce village in the demilitarized zone, the Defense Ministry said in a statement issued this morning. The ministry asked North Korea to respond by restoring the two Koreas’ military communication line in the West Sea. The North has not yet issued an official statement in response. The fact that North Korea has made similar calls for unconditional military talks makes a positive response more likely.

The Korea Herald further reports that the proposal is designed to follow up on President Moon Jae-in’s offer—made in Berlin on July 6—to suspend "all acts of hostile activities" at the cross-border region as of July 27, when the two Koreas mark the 64th anniversary of the armistice treaty that ended the Korean War in 1953.

China has endorsed the South Korean proposal. TASS reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kian told reporters this morning,

"We hope that both sides will move in a positive direction to create conditions for breaking the deadlock and resuming dialogue and talks. We also hope that the international community will understand and support constructive efforts of both parties. China will provide the necessary assistance."