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NORTH KOREA RE-ESTABLISHES HOTLINES WITH SOUTH KOREA

Logo 2021-10-04 05:10    Hamro Biratnagar

According to Reuters, North Korea would reopen severed inter-Korean hotlines on Monday but encouraged South Korea to step up measures to repair relations.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stated his willingness to reestablish the hotlines, which were shut off in early August in protest of joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, just days after they were reopened for the first time in a year.

The official KCNA news agency announced that the lines would be reconnected on Monday at 9:00 a.m. local time and urged Seoul to complete its "tasks" to restore strained cross-border links.

According to South Korea's unification ministry, the hotlines were later reopened, and officials from both Koreas exchanged their first phone contact since August.

"With the restoration of the South-North communication line, the government evaluates that a foundation for recovering inter-Korean relations has been provided," the ministry said in a statement carried by the BBC.

Kim said the decision to reopen the lines last week would help "realize the expectations and desire of the entire Korean nation" for rehabilitation and long-term peace in cross-border relations.

While still suggesting discussions, Kim struck a more complex tone toward Washington, accusing President Joe Biden's new government of "employing more cunning ways and methods" in advancing military threats and an aggressive strategy toward North Korea.

"The US is touting 'diplomatic engagement' and 'dialogue without preconditions' but it is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts and an extension of the hostile policy pursued by the successive US administrations," Kim claimed.

While in office, former US President Donald Trump attempted to achieve an agreement with North Korea. In 2019, Kim and Trump met in Hanoi for a summit that halted nuclear talks.

Since June 2018, the two have met three times but have made little headway toward disarmament.

The new Biden government approached North Korea, but the country did not react.

Biden said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed challenges addressed by "diplomacy and stern deterrence" in his first policy speech to Congress.

North Korea responded by dismissing the possibility of discussions with Washington, calling Biden's address "intolerable" and "a big blunder."


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