North and South Korea restore cross-border hotline: Seoul

SEOUL (AFP) – North and South Korea have restored their cross-border communication, Seoul said Monday (Oct 4), with officials exchanging their first phone call since August.

The restoration comes just days after Pyongyang sparked international concern with a series of missile tests in the span of a few weeks, prompting the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting.

Seoul’s unification ministry confirmed that officials from the two Koreas exchanged their first phone call since August on Monday morning.

“With the restoration of the South-North communication line, the government evaluates that a foundation for recovering inter-Korean relations has been provided,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The government hopes… to swiftly resume dialogue and begin practical discussions for recovering inter-Korean relations,” it added.

Earlier Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “expressed the intention of restoring the cut-off north-south communication lines,” KCNA said, reporting the move was an attempt to establish “lasting peace” on the Korean peninsula.

The two Koreas had signalled a surprise thaw in relations in late July by announcing the restoration of cross-border communications, which were severed more than a year earlier.

But the detente was short-lived with North Korea stopped answering calls just two weeks later.

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