NORTH and South Korea signalled a surprise thaw in relations on Tuesday, announcing the restoration of cross-border communications that were severed more than a year ago and an agreement between their two leaders to improve ties.
The joint announcement, which coincided with the anniversary of the end of the Korean War, was the first positive development since a series of summits between the North’s Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in in 2018 failed to achieve any significant breakthrough.
The two sides revealed that Kim and Moon had exchanged a series of letters since April in which they agreed that re-establishing hotlines would be a productive first step in re-booting relations between the two rivals who, despite the end of their 1950-53 conflict, remain technically at war.
“The top leaders of the north and the south agreed to make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring the cut-off inter-Korean communication liaison lines,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reported.
Pyongyang unilaterally cut off all official military and political communication links in June last year over activists sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border but the two sides said all lines were restored on Tuesday.—AFP