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Sunday, November 28 2021

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Seoul, Pyongyang restore communication hotlines

Seoul: South Korea and North Korea have restored their cross-border communication lines that had been severed for over a year, the presidential Blue House in Seoul announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Blue House said that the two Koreas decided to resume their direct communication hotlines from 10 a.m. on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

All of the communication lines had been severed since June last year after North Korea protested against Seoul’s failure to stop civic activists from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

According to the statement, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have exchanged personal letters several times since April to communicate about issues on restoring inter-Korean relations.

Moon and Kim agreed first to restore the severed inter-Korean communication lines, the statement noted.

The two leaders also agreed to restore mutual trust and enhance ties as early as possible.

Also reporting the news on Tuesday, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the restoration of the communication liaison lines “will have positive effects on the improvement and development of the north-south relations”.

Meanwhile, South and North Korean military authorities reopened their military communication lines and put them back to normal operations from 10 a.m., the South Korean Defence Ministry said in a separate statement.

Fixed-line phone calls through the fibre-optic cable and faxing to exchange documents are currently under a normal operation, the ministry noted.

From Tuesday afternoon, the military authorities of the two Koreas planned to restart their regular phone calls twice a day at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The western military hotline across the inter-Korean border worked normally, but some technical problem was found in the eastern hotline, the Ministry said.

It added that the restored hotline would substantially contribute to the defused military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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