South Korean authorities proposed military talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which would result in the first high-level military talks on the Korean peninsula since December 2015.
“Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea’s nuclear problem,” the South’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a news briefing.
South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk stressed that bilateral negotiations could take place at Tongilgak, a DPRK building located in the demilitarized zone, which had previously hosted peace negotiations between the Koreas, according to the BBC.
“We expect a positive response from the North,” Choo-suk said and suggested that negotiations could get underway as early as July 21.
Cho urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the DPRK last year in response to South Korea’s imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.
Seoul also proposed separate talks between the countries’ Red Cross organizations to resume a humanitarian project to reunite families separated during the U.S. war on the peninsula from 1950-53.
Recently elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in has indicated he is an advocate of re-establishing closer ties with the north, opting for political dialogue rather than military affronts and the imposing of sanctions.
During a recent speech in Berlin, President Moon reiterated that open dialogue was fundamental in reaching lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.