South Korea proposes inter-Korean military talks to thaw cross-border tension

On Friday three Palestinian assailants opened fire from a sacred site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the

South Korea is willing to put North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test aside and work together with the DPRK to ease heightening tensions and resume reuniting families who were separated by their war in the 1950s, according to Fox news.

But it's unclear if those talks will be realized.

The election in May of Mr. Moon, a liberal human-rights lawyer, ended decades of conservative dominance in South Korea.

Pyongyang cut off military communication in the Yellow Sea (known as West Sea in Korea) in February a year ago, in response to the South Korean government's unilateral decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) that month. The two declarations aim to foster cross-border cooperation, exchanges and reconciliation.

It represented the Moon administration's first formal offer of inter-Korean talks. The North has yet to issue an official statement. After the North fired an ICBM on July 4, Moon quickly condemned the launch as a "reckless" and "irresponsible" provocation.

The proposal came roughly a week after Moon had said the need for dialogue with North Korea was more pressing than ever to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests since the beginning of past year and missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace.

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon urges North Korea to accept the government's dialogue offer on July 17, 2017.




But over the past decade, the sides have pulled back on talks and reconciliation programs, though there have been some high-profile meetings to try to reach a breakthrough in strained ties or pull back from the brink.

Moon expressed willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "anytime, anywhere" shortly after taking office on May 10.

The Koreas have largely been on speaking terms since the latest crisis broke out in January 2016 when the North conducted its fourth nuclear test, which was followed by a fifth in September and dozens of missile tests in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban its use of ballistic technology.

Previously, Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South past year. The region was used for previous inter-Korea talks. The Korean War was halted with a cease-fire that left the peninsula still technically at war.

The temporary reunions of families that remain separated since the end of the Korean War were last held in October 2015.

South Korean officials have long called for holding reunions more regularly and expanding the number of people taking part.

Al Jazeera's Kathy Novak, reporting from Seoul, said family separation is seen as a "very pressing and emotional humanitarian issue", - particularly in South Korea.

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