Wednesday, October 6, 2021
After almost two months of radio silence over the telephone and fax lines that serve as a hotline between North Korea and South Korea, communication was restored between the two countries on Monday.
In a speech made at a Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for the North-South communication lines to be reopened, wishing for an “early recovery of the present inter-Korean relations and settlement of durable peace on the Korean peninsula.”
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement where Kim Jong Un’s wishes were expressed, and closed the short article with a cautionary statement directed at the South Korean government. This statement warned authorities in South Korea they “should keep in mind the meaning of reopening of the communication lines and make active efforts to solve pending important issues for saving the inter-Korean relations and opening its bright prospect.”
The communication lines had been severed on the North’s order in August as a method of protest exercised during US-South Korea joint military drills. The KCNA had previously stated communication would be re-established 9 AM on Monday KST (UTC midnight). In an article by CTV News, it is said officials exchanged greetings over telephone lines and discussed fishing activities in their disputed western maritime border.
This thawing of Korean relations comes at a heated time, with the North having conducted multiple missile tests last week. One of the said launches was confirmed by Japanese and South Korean defense ministries to be an early-stage hypersonic missile, launched only minutes before the representative of North Korea spoke before the UN General Assembly, heavily criticizing the US.