North Korea restored inter-Korean communications, which it had cut off in protest of South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise in August. It is the first time in 55 days since North Korea responded to a call.
“Inter-Korean communications resumed at 9:00 a.m. as calls at the joint liaison office were restored,” said the South Korean Ministry of Unification. The South’s Defense Ministry also confirmed that military communication lines on both eastern and western coasts were restored at the same hour. North Korea, however, did not respond to the joint international merchant ship network established to prevent accidental collision in the West Sea.
The Blue House, which aims to restore inter-Korean relations before President Moon Jae-in’s term ends, views the situation as favorable to restart dialogue with the North. It does remain a cautious approach, however, on subsequent cooperative measures considering that North Korea fired missiles four times last month alone. “The Unification and Defense Ministries have already explained the government’s stance,” the presidential office said, declining on further comments.
"Through stable communication line operation and resumption of dialogue, the South Korean government hopes to begin and advance substantive discussions on improving inter-Korean relations and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula," said the Ministry of Unification. The spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that Washington strongly supports inter-Korean cooperation, saying that the restored hotlines are crucial to creating a more stable environment.
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