N. Korea resumes border hotline with S. Korea

North Korea reopened a cross-border Red Cross hotline despite South Korea's rejection of its latest call for dialogue after months of tensions.

N. Korea resumes border hotline with S. Korea

North Korea contacted South Korea via a border hotline on Wednesday, a government official in Seoul said, in the first direct communication between the neighbours since November.

Pyongyang has called for talks with Seoul, saying it would reopen a Red Cross hotline at the joint border village of Panmunjom and a liaison office in a jointly run industrial park on the northern side of the border.

"They talked from 12:15 to 12:25, and the line is now open," a unification ministry official said without providing further details.

Relations between the two neighbours soured last year as the South blamed the North for the deadly sinking of one of its warships in May. Tensions then spiked after a North Korean artillery attack that killed four South Koreans on Yeonpyeong island.

The North made conciliatory gestures on Monday, offering to restore the Red Cross line and allowing South Korean officials back into a joint factory park in the North.

The North kicked them out of the complex after South Korea drastically slashed inter-Korean trade over the warship sinking that killed 46 sailors.

South Korea has no immediate plans to send back officials to the joint industrial complex at the North Korean border town of Kaesong unless the North promises to guarantee their safety and not to expel them in the future, Lee Jong-joo, the unification ministry spokeswoman, said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2011, 11:14
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