South and North Korea restore hotline after a year on hold

South and North Korea have restored their once-severed hotline and the two countries’ leaders have agreed to rebuild trust and improve ties, Seoul’s presidential Blue House has said.

North Korea’s state media outlet, KCNA, also said all inter-Korean communication channels were reopened at 10am on Tuesday, in line with an agreement between the leaders.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have exchanged multiple letters since April and agreed to reconnect the hotline, the Blue House said on Tuesday.

North Korea cut the hotline in June 2020 as cross-border ties soured after a failed second summit in February 2019 between Kim and then US president Donald Trump, which Moon had offered to mediate.

Previous reopenings of the hotline have not always gone to plan but raised hopes of improved relations.

Moon has publicly called for a recovery of the hotline and talks, pinning high hopes on US president Joe Biden to restart negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

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