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North and South Korea restore hotline after a year

BBC News logo BBC News 7/27/2021
Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong-un standing in front of a building: Seoul's presidential office says the leaders of both Koreas are exchanging letters © Getty Images Seoul's presidential office says the leaders of both Koreas are exchanging letters

North and South Korea have restored a communication hotline that was cut off by Pyongyang last June.

According to the South's presidential office, the leaders of both countries have agreed to rebuild trust and improve ties.

The two leaders have exchanged multiple personal letters since April, the Blue House added.

North Korea cut the hotline in June 2020 as relations soured after a failed summit between the two countries.

Shortly afterwards, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean office near the border which was built with the intention of helping them communicate.

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"According to the agreement made between the top leaders, the north and the south took a measure to re-operate all inter-Korean communication liaison lines from 10:00 on July 27,"said news agency AFP quoting North Korea's official KCNA news agency."The two leaders also agreed to restore mutual trust between the two Koreas as soon as possible and move forward with the relationship again," it added.

Ties between both countries improved in 2018, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met three times.

But this quickly broke down following the collapse of a second summit between Mr Kim and then US President Donald Trump.

Tensions later worsened, prompted by defector groups in the South sending propaganda across the border.

This eventually led North Korea to cut off all military and political communication links, including a hotline between their leaders.

South Korea's president had called for the hotline to be restored and talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean war ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.


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