Korea: Seoul and Pyongyang initiate rapprochement by re-establishing communications

A South Korean government official communicates with a North Korean official during a phone call via the Inter-Korean Communication Channel, in Paju, South Korea, January 3, 2018. AP

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3 min

The two Koreas have re-established their cross-border line after a 13-month hiatus.

Officials from Seoul and Pyongyang spoke on Tuesday morning, July 27 at 10 a.m. local time, through the communications channel, South Korea said.

Over a year ago, the North unilaterally severed this channel, accusing the South Korean government of failing to prevent anti-Pyongyang activities in the South. 

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With our correspondent in Seoul,

Louis Palligiano

Perhaps finally the beginning of an improvement on the Korean peninsula.

After a dramatic warming of relations between the two Koreas in 2018, the year in which South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North leader Kim Jong-un met three times, the momentum for dialogue has been completely shattered by the precipitous, no-deal end of the summit between the United States and North Korea the following year.

According to Seoul, this resumption of exchanges thanks to the restoration of the cross-border link comes as Moon and Kim had been discussing since last April via personal letters the restoration of inter-Korean relations.

From this Tuesday, the two Koreas will therefore resume their regular phone calls twice a day.

To read also: "

A marriage of convenience

": Beijing and Pyongyang want to strengthen ties against Washington

International sanctions, food shortage and Covid-19

The North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the recovery will "have 

positive effects on improving and developing North-South relations

 ."

In fact, the line of communication had not been physically severed, but Pyongyang had simply stopped answering calls from Seoul.

This gesture of openness comes as North Korea, under international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic programs, faces a

serious food shortage

, while struggling to ward off the Covid-19 epidemic on its soil.

See also: North Korea: senior officials sacked after a "

serious incident

" linked to Covid-19

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  • South Korea

  • North Korea

  • Kim Jong-un

  • Moon jae-in

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