North Korea restores cross-border hotline with South Korea

The last phone call made before communications ended was two month ago

A South Korean military officer makes a test call with a North Korean officer through an inter-Koran military communication line at an undisclosed location near the demilitarised zone on Monday. Photo: AP
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North Korea reconnected a hotline with South Korea it had left silent for about two months.

North Korean officials answered a liaison phone call on Monday, AFP cited South Korean officials as saying.

The North's leader, Kim Jong-un, told his parliament in Pyongyang last week to resume communications on the hotlines established in 2018 after he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a series of summits aimed at decreasing tensions on their heavily armed border.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, said last week that North Korea is willing to consider another summit with South Korea if mutual respect between the neighbours can be assured, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Constructive discussions offer a chance for solutions on issues such as “the re-establishment of the North-South joint liaison office and the North-South summit, to say nothing of the timely declaration of the significant termination of the war,“ Ms Kim was cited as saying.

The South Korean government welcomed the move and said it looked forward to resuming inter-Korean talks promptly following the restoration of the communication links, the Unification Ministry said. Pyongyang announced its intent to restore the hotlines in a dispatch on Monday from KCNA.

“The south Korean authorities should make positive efforts to put the north-south ties on a right track and settle the important tasks which must be prioritised to open up the bright prospect in the future, bearing deep in mind the meaning of the restoration of communication lines,” KCNA said.

The hotlines were briefly restored in July but cut about a month later in a show of anger from Pyongyang over joint military drills by the US and South Korea.

In his speech last week to the Supreme People’s Assembly, Mr Kim also sent a fresh warning to the US, accusing Washington of being a “fundamental danger” to the international community and saying he would boost his nuclear capabilities, a day after Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested a “hypersonic missile” that could evade American defences.

“As the actions of the past eight months of the new US administration have clearly shown, the US military threat and hostile policy towards North Korea has not changed at all,” Mr Kim said.

Updated: October 04, 2021, 5:49 AM