By Hyonhee Shin (Mon, October 04, 2021)
The two Koreas on Monday restored their hotlines that the North cut months ago, and Pyongyang urged Seoul to redouble its efforts to improve relations after criticizing alleged double standards in weapons development.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed a willingness last week to revive the hotlines, which North Korea cut in early August in protest at joint South Korean and U.S. military exercises, just days after reopening them for the first time in a year.
Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency had said the phone links would be reconnected on Monday at 9:00 a.m. (0000 GMT).
The South confirmed that regular communication was resumed on time twice a day through military hotlines and others managed by the Ministry of Unification, except for the navy channel established in an international network for merchant ships.
Hotlines are a rare tool in connecting the two countries, but it’s unclear whether reopening them will facilitate a meaningful return to talks to dismantle the North’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for U.S. sanctions relief.