South Korea proposes rare military talks with North Korea

  • As Netanyahu is in Paris to commemorate Vel d’Hiv deportation of Jews

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with the North, after weeks of heightened tension following Pyongyang’s long range missile test.

If they were to go ahead, they would be the first high-level talks since 2015.

A senior official said talks should aim to stop “all hostile activities that raise military tension” at the fortified border between the Koreas.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has long signalled his intention to drive closer engagement with the North.

In a recent speech in Berlin, he said dialogue with the North was more pressing than ever and called for a peace treaty to be signed and said such dialogue was crucial for those who seek the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

However, the North’s frequent missile tests, including the most recent one of an inter-continental ballistic missile, are in consistent violation of UN resolutions and has only served to alarm its neighbours and the US.

In the meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Paris to commemorate the victims of a mass arrest of Jews in Nazi-occupied France in 1942.

More than 13,000 Jews were rounded up and detained at a cycling stadium, the Velodrome d’Hiver, before being deported to Nazi death camps.

Mr Netanyahu also held direct talks for the first time with French President Emmanuel Macron.

He is the first Israeli prime minister to attend the Vel d’Hiv commemorations.

“I’m here to mourn the victims,” Mr Netanyahu told an audience in Paris, which included Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors.

“Seventy-five years ago, a heavy darkness descended on this city… It seems the values of the French revolution – equality, fraternity, liberty – was crushed brutally under the boot of anti-Semitism.”

He hailed the “great, great human beings” who had risked their lives to save Jews in France during Nazi occupation, and warned of a rise in “extremist forces” in modern society.