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July 25, 2017

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South Korea has proposed rare talks with the North

SEOUL -- South Korea has proposed a fresh round of military talks with Pyongyang, the Defense Ministry in Seoul said Monday, in a bid to de-escalate tensions on the border.

Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, on Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.

The 4-kilometer-wide line acts as a buffer zone.

If a meeting takes place, it will mark the first military talks between the neighbors in three years. The ministry, which gave no agenda for the talks, said it was still waiting for an answer from Pyongyang.

Tensions currently are running high on the Korean Peninsula, after a year in which the North has carried out two nuclear tests and numerous ballistic missile tests despite international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

Its most recent test, of an intercontinental missile on July 4, confirmed fears it was a step closer to being able to hit the mainland United States.

Despite the North's aggression and increasingly belligerent noises from Washington, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has emphasized the importance of getting Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

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