American Peace Activist Is Denied Entry to South Korea

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"In order to suspend hostile activities at the military demarcation line, we propose holding an inter-Korean military talk at Tongilgak", the North Korean building inside the truce village of Panmunjeom, the ministry said in a statement.

The offer of talks, the first since South Korea elected dovish President Moon Jae-In, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The meeting, proposed by the ministry would be the first meeting Korean official since December 2015.

The reunions are a highly emotional issue because most applicants are in their 70s or 80s and are desperate to see their loved ones before they die. "We considered [the proposal] because [a halt] is something that North Korea also agrees with and thinks is important", explained an administration official.

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

North Korea did not immediately respond.

Your correspondent believes the joint missile launches by the USA and South Korea were provocative, and that negotiations are the best way of finding a solution in the Korean peninsula.

President Moon Jae-in gives a speech on the Korean peninsula at old city hall in Berlin, at an event organized by the Korber Foundation, July 6.

Moon's two-track approach also raises concerns that Seoul's possible resumption of joint ventures with Pyongyang will undermine the United Nations -led sanctions on it.

It asked Pyongyang to respond via an inter-Korean hotline, which was cut off by the North past year. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

While Cho says there is no "separation" between the USA and South Korea on dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat, Washington continues to emphasize pressure over dialogue and is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, according to US officials.

The military has also occasionally launched giant balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says these latest proposals are in line with President Moon Jae-in's dual track policy to pursue both engagement with the Kim Jong Un government while also supporting USA led sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

A separated family reunion applicant corrects his information at the headquarters of South Korea's Red Cross in Seoul on Monday.

The vice defence minister did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas.


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