South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions

South Korean soldiers stand guard at the border village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea

"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border" that is also the Military Demarcation Line between the long-hostile neighbors, the ministry announced in a statement.

The dialogue was created to hold a reunion event of families, who have been separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in armistice, on the occasion of the Chuseok holiday in early October.

With North Korea pushing to expand its nuclear and missile arsenals, relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in decades.

North and South Korea remain technically at war since the 1953, when an armistice agreement ended the war but no truce was signed.

There was no immediate response by the North to the proposal on Monday for talks later this week.

Mr. Suh, the vice defense minister, on Monday called on the North to restore a military hotline that Pyongyang cut off in 2016, amid tensions following its nuclear test in January of that year. Official talks between the sides have not been held since December 2015.

North Korea has said that the 12 female workers involved in a mass-defection to South Korea in April past year and Kim Ryon Hui - who has said she wishes to return to her homeland after, she claims, mistakenly defecting in 2011 - must be returned to the North. But his push has reported little progress with the North test-firing a series of newly developed missiles since Moon's May 10 inauguration.

The Oct. 4 declaration was the outcome of the inter-Korean summit that was held in Pyongyang in 2007 between late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader Kim Jong Un.

"If South and North Korea sit face-to-face, we will be able to have a heart-to-heart discussion over mutual interests".

Outside experts believe the South Korean broadcasts and leaflets sting in Pyongyang more because the authoritarian country worries that the broadcasts will demoralize front-line troops and residents and eventually weaken the grip of absolute leader Kim Jong Un. Analysts say the ICBM that was tested could reach Alaska.

If held, it would be the first such meeting between military authorities of the two sides since a working-level meeting that failed to produce an agreement on October 15, 2014, at Panmunjom, according to Yonhap News Agency. But the North might set a precondition for the talks, such as a suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

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