South Korea on Monday formally proposed opening talks with North Korea to reduce tensions along the border after the reclusive regime successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike Alaska, according to a report.
“Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea’s nuclear problem,” the South’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said, according to Reuters.
The South Korean defense ministry suggested beginning the talks on Friday.
The overture from South Korea comes after President Moon Jae-in said during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month that he favors opening a dialogue with the Hermit Kingdom despite its “nuclear provocation.”
“The fact that we wish to take on a leading role in resolving this (North Korean) issue has already been understood at the summit with the United States and the Group of 20 summit meetings,” Cho said.
China, which the Trump administration is pressuring to bring its economic influence to bear on North Korea, welcomed the calls for a diplomatic solution.
“We hope that North and South Korea can work hard to go in a positive direction and create conditions to break the deadlock and resume dialogue and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday, Reuters reported.
President Trump, who met with Moon at the White House last month, said he has lost “patience” with North Korean President Kim Jong Un and his nuclear ambitions.
”The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed,” Trump said. “And, frankly, that patience is over.”
T he president also imposed new sanctions against a Chinese bank and OK’d a $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan to convince President Xi Jinping to help rein in North Korea’s weapons program.
Moon, during the White House meeting, warned that any threats from North Korea would be met with a “stern response,” but also urged a return to the negotiating table.
North Korea has been experimenting with developing missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.
Earlier this month, the regime launched an ICBM with the necessary trajectory to strike Alaska. The rocket landed in the Sea of Japan.
Kim called the July 4 launch an Independence Day present to the US, adding that “we should deliver big and small presents often.”
North Korea said the missile could be outfitted with a nuclear warhead, but the US doubts that claim.
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