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South, North Korea reopen hotlines as leaders seek to rebuild ties

South, North Korea reopen hotlines as leaders seek to rebuild ties

South, North Korea reopen hotlines as leaders seek to rebuild ties

– South and North Korea have reopened hotlines that Pyongyang cut a year ago when relations deteriorated significantly, Seoul’s presidential office said on Tuesday.

South, North Korea reopen hotlines as leaders seek to rebuild ties

South, North Korea reopen hotlines as leaders seek to rebuild ties

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decided on the hotlines after exchanging letters since April, when they commemorated the third anniversary of their first meeting, said Moon’s press secretary Park Soo-hyun.

 

According to KCNA, all inter-Korean communication channels restarted at 10 a.m. Tuesday (0100 GMT) as agreed by Moon and Kim.

 

A restoration of the hotlines between the two Koreas is unlikely to speed up the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

 

“The two leaders agreed to restore severed hotlines as a starting step for the process,” Park said in a statement. “They have also committed to restore confidence and development in ties as quickly as feasible.”

 

It said the hotlines’ reactivation was “a major step toward regaining mutual confidence and fostering peace.”

 

STALEMATE NUM

 

North Korea severed the lines in June 2020 following a failed second summit between Kim and former US President Donald Trump in February 2019, which Moon tried to mediate. [nL4N2P30RM]

 

The North then demolished a joint liaison office set up in 2018 to improve ties with the South, bringing relations to a halt under Moon.

 

Two-day routine communication via a military hotline was verified Tuesday by Seoul’s defence ministry.

The Unification Ministry claimed telephone connections in Panmunjom, a border truce town, had been reconnected.

 

Moon had proposed a video meeting with Kim to prevent the coronavirus, but Pyongyang had earlier slammed Moon’s proposal, claiming it had no intention of talking to Seoul.

 

Even though North Korea hasn’t verified any COVID-19 breakouts, it has closed its borders and implemented rigorous anti-virus measures.

 

In order to battle the epidemic, Moon and Kim agreed to work together, but did not discuss a future summit.

 

The letters arrived before of Moon’s May summit with US President Joe Biden, where both leaders pledged to engage the North. more

 

But whether Pyongyang was ready to resume talks remained unknown, with Biden’s administration wanting a “reliable, predictable, and productive” route forward.
An ex-military commander who previously oversaw inter-Korean talks says it’s merely a reconnecting of connections cut unilaterally.

 

We can’t do anything about North Korea’s desire for meaningful sanctions relief, therefore talking to the South is pointless.

 

James Kim of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies said Pyongyang may be indicating a readiness to respond to US overtures, but cautioned against overreacting.

 

“We need to see Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization before we can conclude there is true progress,” Kim added.

 

 

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