S. Korea, DPRK restore communication hotlines
South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea restored their cross-border communication lines that had been severed for over a year, the South Korean presidential Blue House said on Tuesday.
The Blue House said in a statement that the two Koreas decided to resume their direct communication hotlines as of 10am Tuesday. All of the inter-Korean communication lines had been severed since June last year when the DPRK cut them off in protest against Seoul's failure to stop civic activists from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the DPRK.
According to the statement, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK top 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, the Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of the DPRK, said the restoration of the communication liaison lines "will have positive effects on the improvement and development of the north-south relations."
Meanwhile, the military authorities of South Korea and the DPRK reopened their military communication lines and put them back to normal operations from 10am, the South Korean defense ministry said in a separate statement.
Fixed-line phone calls through the fiber-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 9am and 4pm.
The western military hotline across the inter-Korean border worked normally, but some technical problem was found in the eastern hotline, the ministry said.
The ministry said the restored hotline would substantially contribute to the defused military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.