South, North Korea have restored once-severed hotline -Blue House

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FILE PHOTO: South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom
FILE PHOTO: South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, South Korea, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

July 27, 2021

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South and North Korea have restored their once-severed hotline and the two countries’ leaders have agreed to rebuild trust and improve ties, Seoul’s presidential Blue House said on Tuesday.

North Korea’s state media outlet, KCNA, also said all inter-Korean communication channels were reopened at 10 a.m. Tuesday (0100 GMT) in line with an agreement between the leaders.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged multiple letters since April and agreed to reconnect the hotline, the Blue House said.

North Korea cut the hotline in June 2020 as cross-border ties soured after a failed second summit in February 2019 between Kim and former U.S. President Donald Trump, which Moon had offered to mediate.

Moon has called for a recovery of the hotline and talks, pinning high hopes on U.S. President Joe Biden to restart negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Gerry Doyle)