Seoul Seeks New Talks With North Korea, Hoping To Tamp Down Tensions

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Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, on Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries. -South Korea military exercises in the region in exchange for North Korea suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This initiative is for the benefit of regional peace and development, he noted.

If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015. "China will provide the necessary assistance", he said.

The offer of talks, the first since South Korea elected dovish President Moon Jae-In, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The South Korean side also suggested arranging Red Cross consultations at the site on August.

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The Trump administration last month took steps to penalize a Chinese bank, a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese citizens in an attempt to reduce North Korea's access to the worldwide financial system.

The Red Cross said it hoped for "a positive response" from its counterpart in the North, hoping to hold family reunions in early October.

Anthony Ruggiero, a former deputy director of the U.S. Treasury Department, said the visit could send a signal to Myanmar the United States is watching.

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"After North Korea's frequent missile tests including its very first ICBM test, the global community has vowed to tighten sanctions, and China simply can not exclude itself from the recent movement, although it probably does not want to indefinitely cut off fuel sales to the North", Kang said.

"I ask the North to answer to our proposal by restoring the now disconnected military hotline near the West Sea", he said at a news conference. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time that the measures were "in no way targeting China" but instead focused on "North Korea's external enablers".

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016. But the South's then-president, Park Geun-hye, a conservative who has since been impeached and removed from office, rejected the offer, calling it insincere and demanding that the North first move toward dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea once again urged Seoul to ditch its pro-U.S. stance, saying it was the "starting point" of improved relations with the regime. Initial reports indicated that it landed within the exclusive economic zone of our ally, Japan, a country where we have tens of thousands of American service members, civilian employees and family members stationed, as well as ships, aircraft and bases.

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The South's military has deployed dozens of giant loudspeakers along the tense border to blare out a mix of world news, K-pop songs and other propaganda targeting young North Korean soldiers. We do have some bargaining chips with Beijing in this regard including a warning that we may otherwise extend diplomatic recognition to Taiwan and provide them with significantly more military aid.

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