South Korea's new government proposes military talks with North Korea

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It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk proposed on Monday that defense officials from the two Koreas hold talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday on how to end hostile activities along the border.

If realized, the talks would be the first inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015.

The last such reunions were held in October 2015 during the government of Moon's predecessor under a futile push for reconciliation following a sharp increase in tension over border incidents involving a landmine blast and artillery fire.

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The test marked a significant step toward the goal of North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un to develop a missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States.

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"We hope that North and South Korea can work hard to go in a positive direction and create conditions to break the deadlock and resume dialogue and consultation", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing.

The missile launch has stoked worldwide security fears.

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But experts said the resumption of the event may take a bumpy road since the communist state continued in the commentary to demand South Korea repatriate 12 female North Koreans who worked at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China and defected to Seoul en masse past year. It is anxious about an influx of refugees and possible U.S. troops stationed on its border in a unified Korea.

"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the defence ministry said in a statement. Since no truce was agreed, the two sides remain technically at war. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts by both sides, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S. 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.

In an act to rein in the North, the United States is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, two senior USA officials said last week.

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