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NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong Un reopened the cross-border hotline to Seoul today for the first time in two years.
The reconnection followed Mr Kim’s offer of talks with South Korea, which was made in his New Year’s Day address, ostensibly on participation in this year’s Winter Olympics there.
That proposal was accepted by South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon on Tuesday.
North Korean Committee for Peaceful Reunification chairman Ri Son Gwon, said Mr Kim welcomed Seoul’s response and ordered officials to reopen a communication channel at the “peace village” of Panmunjom.
Mr Ri told the KCNA state news agency that the leader had told officials to implement substantial measures with South Korea out of a “sincere stand and honest attitude.”
South Korean authorities confirmed that the channel had been reopened , revealing that liaison officials of the two republics had exchanged their names and checked that communication lines were working.
The abandoned village inside the demilitarised zone separating the two countries was where the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War was signed. No peace treaty has ever been negotiated to formally end the conflict.
The hotline was closed in February 2016 after a border incident erupted into a row with the government of subsequently impeached South Korean president Park Geun Hye.
Her moderate successor Moon Jae In’s election last year raised hopes of peace on the Korean peninsula, but they were soon dashed by escalating nuclear tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, the hawkish US ambassador to the United Nations, declared: “We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea.”
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