North and South Korea have restored cross-border communication lines that were cut off by Pyongyang last June, local media reported on Tuesday.
The move is the result of an agreement between South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
The two leaders exchanged several personal letters since April and “shared an understanding to recover mutual trust and again push the countries’ relationship forward,” an official of the South’s presidential office said.
North Korea severed communication with South Korea and also blew up an inter-Korean liaison office along the border in June 2020.
At the time, Pyongyang was particularly enraged over Seoul’s failure to stop propaganda leaflets from being sent over and blamed the “conniving hostile acts” for pushing “inter-Korean relations into a catastrophe.”
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency also confirmed the reopening of communication lines.
It said the decision reflects the Korean nation’s desire for better relations and leaders of the two countries have “agreed to make a big stride in recovering mutual trust and promoting reconciliation.”
There was an upturn in ties as Moon and Kim met three times in 2018 but the positivity quickly fizzled out as talks between the North Korean leader and ex-US President Donald Trump broke down.
Tensions worsened on the peninsula last year as Seoul failed to stop defector groups from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.
Despite the prevalent animosity, South Korea’s president reiterated his wish to resume dialogue with Pyongyang earlier this year, saying that it was time to turn the “peace clock” again and learn lessons from the difficulties encountered in the peace process.
* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid
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