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North and South Korea take a step towards resuming relations

The gesture looks like a new thaw in inter-Korean relations, even if the context remains tense. Pyongyang and Seoul announced Monday, October 4, the restoration of their cross-border communication channels. Officials from the two countries thus participated in a telephone conversation in the morning, the South Korean unification ministry said in a statement.

“The government believes that, with the reestablishment of the South-North line of communication, a basis for the resumption of inter-Korean relations has been laid.”, he emphasizes. “The government hopes (…) to resume dialogue quickly and start practical discussions for the reestablishment of inter-Korean relations”, adds the press release.

At the same time, the South Korean defense ministry confirmed that military communications between the two countries have also resumed.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had “Expressed its intention to re-establish the communication channels cut between the North and the South”, had announced the official North Korean news agency KCNA a few hours earlier, explaining the decision as an attempt to establish a “Lasting peace” in the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang increases missile fire

North Korea unilaterally cut off all official channels of military and political communication in June 2020 after denouncing the sending of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets to its territory by militants based in the South. A year later, on July 27, 2021, the two Koreas announced a surprise thaw in their relations with the restoration of these cross-border communications.

The decision, released on the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the Korean War, was the first positive announcement since the series of summits in 2018 between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong. -one, which had not allowed any significant diplomatic breakthrough.

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Senior officials from both countries had a first telephone interview that day and the two sides revealed an exchange of letters since April between MM. Kim and Moon, in which they believed that reestablishing a phone line between them would be a first step in warming relations between the two countries, technically still at war. This detente did not last, however, Pyongyang, irritated by joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea, ceasing to respond to appeals two weeks later.

Since then, Pyongyang has announced the firing of a long-range cruise missile followed by a missile billed as hypersonic and, on Friday, an anti-aircraft missile. North Korea blasted the emergency UN Security Council meeting on Sunday over the missile fire, with Pyongyang accusing member countries of playing with a ” time bomb “.

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