US Calls for Global Pressure Hinder Dialogue on Denuclearization: Pyongyang

China’s trade with North Korea rises 10

"The Ministry of National Defense (MND) propose to North Korea to hold the military talks between the South and North Korean authorities on July 21 at Tongilgak on the North Korean side... as follow up measures to the suggestions", South Korean Vice Minister of National Defense Suh Choo-suk told assembled media during a special news briefing.

The South Korean Red Cross on Monday also proposed holding talks in August with the North to arrange reunions of family members separated during the 1950-53 Korean War, with the hope of scheduling the reunions in October during the Korean Chuseok holiday.

University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin predicted, "North Korea could agree to inter-Korean military talks, since it was one of the things - along with a large-scale reunification meeting - proposed by the Korean Workers' Party at its 7th party Congress [in May 2016]". Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has long signaled he wants closer engagement with the North.

Despite the North's aggression and increasingly belligerent responses from Washington, South Korean President Moon Jae In has emphasized the importance of getting Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. Prospects for talks on family reunions are less good because North Korea has previously demanded that South Korea repatriate some North Korean defectors living in the South before any reunions take place, according to the analysts. 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.

This is the first between both governments in two years.

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But Pyongyang has staged a series of missile launches in violation of United Nations resolutions - most recently on July 4 when it test-fired its first ICBM, a move which triggered global alarm and a push by US President Donald Trump to impose harsher United Nations sanctions.

Seoul's olive branch comes as US President Donald J. Trump signals frustration with the pace of efforts by China, North Korea's long-time ally and top trading partner, to pressure Kim back to the bargaining table.

Through the olive branch to follow up on Moon's peace overture, the South hopes to lay the groundwork for easing tension and opening additional dialogue meant to persuade it to suspend provocations, freeze its weapons of mass destruction program and expand inter-Korean economic cooperation.

Japan supports new sanctions but also maintains that Russian Federation and China must do more to fully implement the current set of measures targeting their economic ties with North Korea.

The North has responded with its own propaganda broadcasts and sent anti-Seoul leaflets via giant balloons across the border. The two Koreas fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since the war ended.

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