22 July 2017

News Story: S. Korea urges N. Korea to accept dialogue offer

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense ministry on Friday pressed North Korea to hold bilateral military talks on easing border tension, as Pyongyang remained unresponsive to Seoul's latest dialogue offer.

The meeting was proposed for the day at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in what would be their first military dialogue in almost three years.

But the North has kept mum on it, since the South delivered the overture Monday through media, with all formal inter-Korean hotlines severed.

"The North Korean side has not issued a position so far. Accordingly, it has become virtually difficult to open the talks today," the ministry said in a statement.

It stressed the urgency of reducing military tensions and restoring a military communication channel between the two Koreas for the peace and stability of the peninsula.

"The Ministry of National Defense once again calls on the North to respond positively to our offer as soon as possible," the statement read.

On Monday, the South also suggested humanitarian talks with the North on Aug. 1 to arrange the resumption of dayslong reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The North also has not replied.

The South's overtures of talks with the North marked the first by the left-leaning Moon Jae-in administration, seeking to engage the nuclear-armed communist neighbor after a decade of animosities.

Read the full story at YonhapNews