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South Korea urges N Korea to respond to military talks offer to ease tension on border

Seoul: South Korea urged the North Korea on Friday to accept its offers for talks aimed at easing tensions over the hermit state’s nuclear ambitions as Pyongyang continued to ignore Seoul’s proposal for a military meeting to ease animosities along their tense border.

Seoul had proposed to hold rare inter-Korea talks this week at the border truce village of Panmunjom to ease hostilities after a series of missile tests this year.

Defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Kyun was quoted by AFP saying, “It is an urgent task to reduce tension between two Koreas… To achieve peace and stability of the Korean peninsula. We urge the North again to respond to our talks proposal.”

The military talks, if realised, would have marked the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015.

The North has also remained silent on another offer made by the South’s Red Cross to meet on August 1 and discuss potential reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Ties between the Koreas have worsened since over North Korea’s expanding nuclear and missile programs, but South Korea’s new liberal President Moon Jae-in, who took office in May, has expressed a desire to reach out to the North.

Moon has advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed North to bring it to negotiating table and vowed to play a bigger active role in global efforts to tame the unpredictable regime.

His conservative predecessor Park Geun-Hye had refused to engage in substantive dialogue with Pyongyang unless it made a firm commitment to denuclearisation.

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