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North, South Korea restore cross-border hotlines with first call in months



South Korea’s Defense Ministry confirmed that cross-border military communications have resumed. (file)


North and South Korea have restored their cross-border communications, with officials exchanging their first phone calls on Monday since leaving them in August.

The resumption comes just days after Pyongyang sparked international concern with a string of missile tests in the space of a few weeks, prompting the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting.

The two Koreas signaled a surprise thaw in ties by announcing the resumption of cross-border communications in late July – separated more than a year earlier – but the detente was short-lived, as North Korea called for a call. stopped responding. .

Seoul’s unification ministry confirmed that officials from the two rivals exchanged their first phone call since August on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the South’s Defense Ministry confirmed that cross-border military communications have also resumed.

“With the restoration of the South-North communication line, the government assesses that the foundation for healing inter-Korean relations has been provided,” the unification ministry said in a statement.

“The government hopes that it will expeditiously resume talks and initiate practical discussions to restore inter-Korean relations,” it added.

North Korea’s official news agency KCNA said earlier on Monday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his intention to restore North-South communication lines.

He explained that the move was an attempt to establish “lasting peace” on the Korean peninsula.

ignore calls

North Korea unilaterally cut all official military and political communication links in June last year after activists sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

Both sides had said on July 27 this year that all lines have been restored.

Their joint declaration, which coincided with the anniversary of the end of the Korean War, was the first positive development since a series of summits between Kim and South’s President Moon Jae-in in 2018 that have achieved any significant breakthrough. have failed.

Seoul’s unification ministry said the leaders had the first call the same morning, with the defense ministry saying the military hotline was also back to normal operation.

The two sides also revealed at the time that Kim and Moon had exchanged a series of letters since April in which they agreed that re-establishing the hotline was a productive one in resuming relations between the two rivals. The first move would be, despite their late 1950-53 conflict, technically remain at war.

But the cross-border communication lasted just two weeks. The North began to ignore the call in August, taking issue with joint US-South Korean military exercises.

In this period, the North conducted a series of tension-enhancing missile tests.

In September, it tested what it said was a long-range cruise missile, and earlier this week it tested what it described as a hypersonic gliding vehicle, which the South Korean military said appeared to be in an early stage of development. Is.

On Friday it said it had successfully fired a new anti-aircraft missile.

Pyongyang on Sunday criticized the UN Security Council for calling an emergency meeting on missile tests and accused member states of playing with “time-bombs”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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