South Korea ready for talks with North 'any time in any format'
Seoul's new unification minister aims to 'shift currently chilled inter-Korean ties into phase of dialogue'
South Korea on Tuesday again extended an offer of dialogue to North Korea to ease current tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said he is ready to meet with his new North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon “any time in any format,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
Ri, a former foreign minister, was appointed as head of North Korea’s United Front Department (UFD), which is in charge of cross-border relations, on June 11.
“I will try harder to shift the currently chilled inter-Korean ties into a phase of dialogue,” Kwon, who himself took office last month, said at his first news conference.
In February, former South Korean President Moon Jae-in also offered dialogue to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Before Moon, the US also said it was willing to engage Pyongyang in unconditional dialogue.
However, North Korea did not respond to either offer.
Since last year, tensions have soared on the Korean Peninsula as both Seoul and Pyongyang have ramped up drills to show off their military might.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid