Demilitarized zone between North and South Korea (archive image)
Photo: David Guttenfelder / AP
According to the presidential office in Seoul, the governments of North and South Korea have agreed to restore their communications links.
The step was taken as part of efforts to improve mutual relations, the President's Office announced on Tuesday.
According to the South Korean government, the heads of state on both sides, Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un, have been in personal correspondence since April.
The aim is to improve relationships, and the re-establishment of communication links is now the first step in that direction.
The announcement coincides with the 68th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement to end the Korean War.
All Koreans wanted bilateral relations to recover from the setbacks "as soon as possible," it said in the North Korean state media.
The top leaders had agreed to restore mutual trust and promote reconciliation by "re-establishing the separate lines of communication within Korea."
Outrage in the north over leaflets
More than a year ago, Pyongyang unilaterally cut off all official communication channels with South Korea.
The background at the time was, among other things, an action by South Korean activists who had sent around half a million leaflets with critical messages across the border.
South Korean activists and North Korean refugees repeatedly send hot air balloons with leaflets over the border denouncing the human rights situation and the nuclear program in the north.
The actions regularly cause enormous tension between Pyongyang and Seoul.
First the demolition - then the threats
Last June, the leaflet broadcast had aggravated the situation considerably - and led to a highly symbolic action by the north.
At that time, North Korea blew up the inter-Korean liaison office on the border.
Video footage showed the four-story building in Kaesong collapsing after the explosion.
The office has been closed since January 2020 due to the corona crisis.
In addition to the demolition, there were also threats that the north could become militarily active.
“I feel it is high time to break with the South Korean authorities.
We will soon start the next action, "said the influential sister of the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, in June 2020:" The right to take the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our Army. " .
jok / AFP