South Korea’s vice Defence Minister Baek Seung Joo has invited his North Korean counterpart to an international security conference via a military hotline.
This is the latest attempt at dialogue between the two nations. The most recent talks between the two countries over a protracted wage dispute at the jointly operated Kaesong industrial zone ended on Thursday without any conclusive result.
The conference has been held annually since it was launched in 2012, yet North Korea has never previously been included in any of the meetings. According to statements from South Korean officials, North Korea was called on to “discuss a variety of items on peace and security, as well as global issues.”
The conference will be joined by vice defence ministers from 33 nations. The US, China, Japan, Russia and other prominent world powers will have representatives at the conference.
Previous sessions have covered issues such as global non-proliferation, cybersecurity, and North Korea’s nuclear arms programmes.
North Korea did not immediately respond to the invitation.
Cross-border relations between North and South Korea worsened this year after North Korea conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in response to US-South Korean military exercises. Furthermore, Pyongyang is upset by the opening of a new UN office in Seoul to monitor North Korea’s human rights record.