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S. Korea mulling over how to reopen inter-Korean communication channel

All Headlines 11:49 June 13, 2017

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry said Tuesday it is mulling over how to reopen an inter-Korean communication hotline, which was severed early last year following North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

In February 2016, North Korea cut off two inter-Korean communication channels as it expelled remaining South Koreans from a joint industrial park in response to South Korea's closure of the Kaesong complex.

"We are reviewing various ways, which could prompt North Korea to respond to our call for reopening the suspended communication channels," a ministry official said.

"As the long disruption of (the hot lines) is not good for inter-Korean ties, they should be reopened as soon as possible," the official said. He added that Seoul has not made offers to the North over it.

One of the disconnected channels is a hotline at a liaison office located at the truce village of Panmunjom, which was set up in 1971. It had been periodically disconnected when inter-Korean ties seriously worsened.

Technically speaking, the communication lines are not physically cut, but the dialogue channel is not operating as North Korea has not responded to South Korean officials' daily contact over the phone.

This photo taken on July 19, 2016, shows an inter-Korean hotline that was set up in 1971 at a liaison office located at the truce village of Panmunjom. North Korea cut it off in February last year following Seoul's shutdown of a joint industrial park. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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