South Korea on Monday proposed military talks with North Korea, the first government-level talks since 2015, in an effort to halt hostile activities near their joint border and after a series of missile tests by the North in recent weeks.
"We request military talks with the North on July 21 at Tongilgak to stop all hostile activities that raise military tension at the military demarcation line," South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk told a media briefing.
The proposal is the first formal overture by the government of President Moon Jae-in, who came to power in May pledging to engage the North in dialogue, as well as to apply pressure on Pyongyang to reduce tension between the two Koreas.
The offer comes after the North claimed to have conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, and said it had mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile.
"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 told a news briefing.
The South also proposed separate talks to resume a humanitarian project to reunite families separated during the Korean War.