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North and South Korea restore communication hotline after a year

North and South Korea restore communication hotline after a year
US and South Korean officials recently agreed to try to convince North Korea to return to talks on nuclear programme

The governments of North and Sør-Korea on Tuesday announced the restoration of communication channels between them, which have remained suspended for more than a year.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged letters several times since April this year and decided to normalise cross-border communication channels as a first step towards improving relations, the office of the South Korean president said.

Park Soo-Hyun, the spokesperson of Blue House, the residence of the president of South Korea, said in a televised briefing that the two leaders agreed to “restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible”.

He said the two countries reopened communication channels on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday also marks the 68th anniversary of the signing of an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

I 2020, North Korea had cut off all communication channels with South Korea to protest against South Korea’s failure to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across their border. It had even blown up an empty, South Korean-built liaison office, just north of the countries’ border.

The state media of North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency, also confirmed the announcement.

“The top leaders of the North and the South agreed to make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring the inter-Korean communication liaison lines through the recent several exchanges of personal letters,” said KCNA.

Though former US President Donald Trump had tried to improve relations with North Korea, the efforts had fallen apart. Siden januar 2021, de Biden administration has urged North Korea to return to the talks but it has refused to do until US withdraws its “hostile policy” against them.

Forrige uke, top US and South Korean officials had agreed to try to convince North Korea to return to talks on its nuclear programme.

North Korea is facing severe food security issues as well, and earlier this month it told United Nations that it is facing its worst food shortage in more than a decade. The economic condition of the country has also taken a hit due to Covid-19.

Ytterligere rapportering fra byråer