North Korea restores direct communication lines with Seoul

Seoul, Oct 4 (EFE).- North Korea re-established Monday its direct communication line with Seoul and urged the neighboring country to maintain a “positive” attitude to channel its bilateral relations.

“The relevant bodies will reestablish all North-South communication lines from 9:00 am on Oct. 4 (00:00 GMT),” North Korean state news agency KCNA reported.

Shortly after, South Korea said Pyongyang had answered its call and military communications had been reestablished, two months after North Korea stopped them to protest the joint military exercises in Seoul between South Korea and Washington.

The reestablishment comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared in a speech before his rubber-stamp parliament the intention to resume communication with the South in early October.

In the statement announcing the return of communications, Kim’s regime urged South Korea to make “positive efforts” to improve its relations and face “bright prospects in the future” between the countries.

North Korea dynamited the office that both governments had in the Kaesong border territory and cut off all communications with the South in June 2020, in protest at the sending from the neighboring country of leaflets critical of the regime.

The lines returned to work at the end of July, after more than a year, but Pyongyang stopped answering calls from Seoul again in August following the maneuvers, which the north considers a simulated invasion of its territory and a threat to its sovereignty.

South Korea said it saw the re-established communications positively and hoped they would help resume bilateral talks to resolve pending issues such as the adoption of a peace treaty never signed after the 1950-1953 civil war on the peninsula or denuclearization.

The reactivation of communications comes after an increase in weapons tests in Pyongyang – it has announced four in the last three weeks – to which Seoul has responded by showing military force and a willingness to dialogue. EFE


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