South, North Korea Restore Cross-Border Communication
02:06 GMT 27.07.2021 (Updated: 03:47 GMT 27.07.2021)
© AP Photo / Pyongyang Press Corps PoolSouth Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Okryu-Gwan restaurant in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018
© AP Photo / Pyongyang Press Corps Pool
The communication line between Seoul and Pyongyang was cut off last year in June in a North Korean move made against what it claimed were activists sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
According to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency, citing the South Korean presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, cross-border communication between the countries was restored at 10 a.m., local time, on Tuesday after it had been cut off last year.
The leaders of the two Koreas have been exchanging personal letters since April that were aimed to improve the relations between the countries and eventually agreed to restore the hotline communication, the report said, citing the statement from Park Soo-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication.
According to Yonhap, North Korea said that the restoration of the official communication links will play a positive role in improving inter-Korean relations.
"Now, the whole Korean nation desires to see the North-South relations recovered from setback and stagnation as early as possible," the Korean Central News Agency said. "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 cutoff inter-Korean communication liaison lines through the recent several exchanges of personal letters."
The communication line between the two countries was severed in June 2020, with Pyongyang protesting against what it described as Seoul's failure to stop activists from sending anti-North Korea leaflets across the border. On 16 June, an inter-Korean liaison office was destroyed in an explosion carried out by Pyongyang.
In response to the North's condemnation, Seoul imposed an anti-leaflet ban in the country to defuse tensions between the countries. However, reports said that the ban saw violations, prompting more criticism from Pyongyang.
The relations between the two Koreas have remained strained, with tensions continuing after no peace treaty being signed following the 1953 Korean War. Some progress was made in resolving the bilateral issues during Donald Trump's presidential tenure, with the two leaders, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, even meeting for summits.
However, tensions later escalated again, with the US and South Korea particularly urging Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program, and the latter consistently refusing to do so.