Koreas reopen communication lines after nearly 2-month suspension

Development raises hopes for resumption of stalled inter-Korean dialogue.

Koreas reopen communication lines after nearly 2-month suspension

North and South Korea on Monday restored cross-border communication lines that were cut off by Pyongyang in July, raising hopes for the resumption of stalled inter-Korean dialogue.

The two sides had contact through a military hotline and a separate joint liaison office channel, according to South Korean officials quoted by Yonhap News Agency.

Last year, North Korea blew up a liaison office, and unilaterally cut off all inter-Korean communication lines over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent from South Korea.

The hotlines were briefly back in operation in late July before being suspended by North Korea in protest of an annual combined military exercise of South Korea and the US.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un expressed his willingness to restore cross-border communication lines from early October, to "realize the expectation and desire of the entire nation who want the North-South relations to be restored as soon as possible and lasting peace to be settled on the Korean Peninsula."

Seoul welcomed the move and hoped for the restoration of inter-Korean dialogue.

The reconnection of the communication lines is viewed as having "laid the ground for bringing the relations between the two Koreas back on track," the agency cited the Unification Ministry as saying.

In a recent UN speech, South Korean President Moon Jae-in again proposed the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Unification Minister Lee In-young told reporters in Berlin on Sunday (local time) that South Korea will push to arrange high-level talks with North Korea before the end of this year.


Hüseyin Demir