Pyongyang and Seoul restore communication channels
South Korean announced the restoration of channels, confirmed by the North. A first call took place at 10 this morning. The two leaders had begun exchanging personal letters since April. Communications had been interrupted by the North Koreans in protest of propaganda leaflets from the South
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The two Koreas today restored direct lines of communication that had been blown up by Pyongyang in June 2020. This was announced by the spokesman for the South Korean presidency Park Soo-hyun, specifying that the two countries' leaders spoke this morning at 10 a.m. for three minutes and another call will be conducted in the afternoon, and from now on every day. "We are happy to talk again after more than a year. We hope this ... [brings] good news to all the Korean people," commented Seoul's Unification Minister.
The resumption of inter-Korean communications is the result of an agreement between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who have been exchanging personal letters since April this year, the South Korean government explained.
The news was also confirmed by the North's official Korean National Central Agency, which said the two countries had "the top leaders agreed to make a big stride in recovering mutual trust and promoting reconciliation."
North Korea had cut communication lines in protest of Seoul's alleged failure to stop activists sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the communist nation. Shortly thereafter, the communist regime had also blown up a liaison office in Kaesong, an important city on the border between the two Koreas.
According to South Korean Yonhap news agency, the reopening of communication channels could lead to a breakthrough in the resumption of dialogue between the two countries and possibly even a summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. "We expect that the restoration of communications between the South and the North will positively affect the advancement and development of inter-Korean relations," the Blue House said.
Since Joe Biden's arrival at the White House, Seoul has pledged to resume negotiations with Pyongyang, while North Korea has stayed away from talks with the U.S. since the failure of a meeting with Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2019.