North's Kim Reopens Its Direct Line to South

North and South Korea have restored their once-severed hotline and the two countries’ leaders have agreed to rebuild communication, trust and improve ties, Seoul’s presidential Blue House has informed.

 

North Korea reopened direct communication lines with South Korea, raising the prospect that the Kim Jong Un regime could be ready for engagement after a protracted diplomatic silence.

The cross-border phone line was activated at 10 a.m. Tuesday local time, the Koreas said in separate announcements. Pyongyang had severed all communication with the Seoul government since June 2020, after Kim Yo Jong, the dictator’s sister, condemned South Korean activists for sending anti-regime leaflets over the border.

By reopening the communication lines, Mr. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are making a “big stride” to reconcile and restore mutual trust between the two countries, North Korea’s state media said.

The two leaders agreed to revive trust and advance the inter- Korean relationship as soon as possible, said a statement from South Korea’s presidential Blue House.

Mr. Kim has said North Korea is enduring its worst-ever crisis. The country sealed off its borders over Covid-19 fears, undercutting trade with China. Warnings of food shortages have become prominent. Without nuclear talks, the North can’t shed sanctions that hurt its economy.

 

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