Seoul urges Pyongyang to respond to dialogue overtures

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Seoul, Aug 1 (IANS) South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to give a positive response to its earlier dialogue overtures, about which Pyongyang has been mum.

“We believe it is necessary to resume inter-Korean cooperation to solve humanitarian issues and ease military tensions,” Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.

The ministry urged North Korea to respond to Seoul’s dialogue offers, vowing multilateral efforts to ease military tensions and solve urgent humanitarian issues including the reunion of separated families, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Moon Jae-in government proposed to hold talks on military affairs with North Korea on July 21 at the truce village of Panmumjom. It was aimed at stopping all hostile acts near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL).

The Moon administration also suggested Red Cross talks with North Korea be held on August 1, but Pyongyang has been mum about both dialogue proposals.

The Red Cross dialogue offer was designed to discuss humanitarian issues, including the reunion of families of the two sides who have been separated since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, not a peace treaty.

Dismissing the peace gesture from the South, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile of intercontinental range late on Friday night, escalating military tensions on the peninsula.

The unification ministry said South Korea respects four past agreements with North Korea about inter-Korean relations, including the two reached after late South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun held historic summit meetings with late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000 and 2007.

–IANS

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