North and South Korea restored an important cross-border communication line that had been stalled since August.
Seoul’s unification ministry confirmed that the liaison officers of the two countries exchanged messages on the hotline on Monday morning.
North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un previously said the country was ready to reestablish the line as a conditional olive branch.
Pyongyang’s gesture to fix fragile diplomatic ties, however, comes amid international concerns over a series of missile tests within a month. The military display of aggression has prompted an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
The North tested four missiles in less than a month, including a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile known for its stealth and speed.
Targeting the North, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the missile tests “create greater potential for instability and insecurity.” Pyongyang argued that its weapons were for self-defense and accused the US and South Korea of ”double standards”.
The two Koreas are likely to restore other communication channels operating across the border later in the day. The phone and fax channels used by Korea to hold meetings, cross the border and avoid accidental skirmishes have been dormant for more than a year.
“The South Korean authorities should make positive efforts to put North-South relations on the right track and deal with the priority tasks to open up bright prospects in the future, taking into account the meaning of the restoration of communication lines, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said ahead of the resumption.
Seoul’s unification ministry said the reconnection of the hotline laid the foundation for the resumption of ties between the two Koreas. “The government looks forward to resuming talks and starting practical discussions to restore inter-Korean relations,” a ministry statement said.
Communication between the two countries has been stalled and restored several times. Pyongyang broke its hotline with Seoul in August, registering its protest against a US-South Korea military exercise it viewed as an “aggression rehearsal”.
In 2020, after a failed summit with the south, Pyongyang blew up an inter-Korean border office in the city of Kaesong, which was built to improve communications.
Last week, the North Korean leader expressed a desire to reactivate communication channels if Seoul gives up its “double standards” for the Sage Empire. He also urged the South to remove their “hostile outlook” on the North’s recent missile tests.
Pyongyang’s outreach came after renewed calls from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War to promote peace on the Korean peninsula.
During the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York, the South Korean president called for the signing of a declaration of an end to the war between the two Koreas, the US and China.
Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader, said last week that Pyongyang was ready to consider an inter-Korean summit based on mutual respect and fairness.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /