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(2nd LD) N. Korea restores military hotline with South

All News 23:42 January 09, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout)

PANMUNJOM, Korea, Jan. 9 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) -- North Korea told the South on Tuesday that it has recently restored a military hotline severed for nearly two years, according to Seoul officials.

The North made the notification during high-level talks at the border truce village of Panmunjom held to discuss its participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and ways to improve their ties.

The North's delegation said the western military communication channel was restored last Wednesday along with another direct line at the border village, through which the two Koreas arranged Tuesday's high-level talks.

North Korea disconnected both lines in February 2016 in protest at Seoul's shutdown of a joint industrial complex.

The Seoul government said the military hotline will resume normal operation starting 8:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Seoul briefed reporters that its delegates were told the military channel was restored the same day. North Korea complained about the misinformation after it was reported by the media, according to Seoul officials.

After the talks, Ri Son-gwon, the North's chief delegate, told reporters that the reopening was ordered by the supreme leadership, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The military hotline was previously used to notify the North of information regarding South Koreans moving in and out of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the inter-Korean border.

The move indicates that the North may seek to send its delegation to the Winter Games by land.

If the land route across the heavily guarded border is chosen, there should be consultation between the military authorities of the two Koreas.


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