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(LEAD) Koreas hold talks about modernizing direct phone lines

All Headlines 11:07 November 23, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Officials of South and North Korea held talks Friday about modernizing underground cables set up across the border village of Panmunjom for direct phone and other communication lines.

The meeting at the joint liaison office in the North's border city of Kaesong, focuses on replacing the current copper phone cables with fiber-optic ones, officials at the unification ministry said.

Chung Chang-rim, a senior communications ministry official, is the leader of a five-member South Korean delegation. His North Korean counterpart is Ri Yong-min, a senior official handling the North's communications affairs.

The meeting was set up after the North first proposed it earlier this month.

Officials said they will make sure that the project will be carried out in a way that does not violate sanctions.

Earlier this year, the U.N. committee on North Korea sanctions made an exception to sanctions for the South, permitting it to provide the North with fiber-optic cables and other supplies to restore military communication lines between the two sides.

Dozens of communication lines are set up across the heavily fortified border for direct phone, fax and other hotlines between the Koreas, which are still technically in a state of conflict as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, depicts a conference room for talks between the two Koreas. (Yonhap)


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