North, South Korea resume direct communication hotline after a year

Seoul, July 27 (EFE).- North and South Korea Tuesday resumed their direct communication hotline 13 months after Pyongyang unilaterally cut it off.

North Korea snapped the communication in protest after South Korean activists dropped anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets using balloons.

The neighbors, technically at war since the 1950s, decided to restart the hotline from 10 am, a spokesperson from the South Korean presidential office, Park Soo-hyun, said in a statement.

The spokesperson said President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un exchanged personal letters several times since April to discuss the restoration of the ties.

“The two leaders of the South and the North also shared an understanding to recover mutual trust and again push the countries’ relationship forward,” he added.

North Korean state news agency KCNA reported the re-establishment of communications and the exchange of letters between the leaders of the two Koreas.

KCNA said all Koreans were earnestly hoping that the stagnated North-South relations will get restored as soon as possible.

The agency said the restoration of communication lines would positively affect the development of inter-Korean ties.

On June 9, 2020, North Korea cut off the inter-Korean lines of communication, arguing that Seoul had not done enough to prevent the sending of balloons with anti-North propaganda from its territory.

Soon after, Pyongyang blew up the inter-Korean joint liaison office on its territory, toughened its rhetoric, and brought to a standstill talks between the two countries.

The talks had resumed in 2018, less than a year after Moon was elected president of South Korea.

Ties had already frozen after the failed denuclearization summit between North Korea and the United States in Hanoi in February 2019.

The re-establishment of communication channels on the peninsula could also serve to restart talks.

Pyongyang has spent more than a year in complete isolation, engaged in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country recently admitted that it was going through a “food crisis,” worsened by the heatwave in the peninsula two weeks ago. EFE


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