S. Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North
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SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.
It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach to it. But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the international standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and vowed a firm response.
If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015. Ties between the Koreas have plunged over the North's expanding missile and nuclear programs and the hard-line policies of Moon's conservative predecessors.
South Korean Vice
North Korea's state media didn't immediately respond to South Korea's proposals. But analysts say North Korea may accept the
Earlier this month, Moon said in a speech in Germany that he's willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met. Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and
Moon has said he will use both dialogue and pressure to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. But he has achieved little progress, with North Korea test-firing a series of newly developed missiles.
North Korea is believed to possess hundreds of missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan. It recent test of an ICBM put it one step closer to its goal of developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.
After the ICBM launch, Kim said he would never negotiate over his weapons programs as long as U.S. hostility and nuclear threats persist.
The two Koreas have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.