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S. Korea preparing to resume dialogue with N. Korea after restoration of communication lines

All News 11:20 October 05, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea continues to make preparations necessary to resume long-stalled dialogue with North Korea after their inter-Korean communication lines were restored following about two months of suspension, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

On Monday, the two Koreas reopened their liaison and military hotlines, which had been suspended since early August due to Pyongyang's protest of a joint military drill by South Korea and the United States. Their reactivation came days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed an intention to improve chilled inter-Korean relations.

"There are a host of matters that require cooperation between the South and the North," the ministry official told reporters. "We continue to make internal preparations as to how those issues should be handled through dialogue."

"First and foremost, we will work to manage the communications lines in a stable manner but at the same time preparations are under way for the resumption of dialogue (with the North)," the official added.

North Korea blew up a liaison office in its border town of Kaesong and cut off all communication lines with South Korea in July last year in protest of anti-Pyongyang leaflets flown from the South.

The lines were back in operation in late July, but the North had refused to respond to Seoul's regular calls again since August, as it bristled at an annual military exercise by South Korea and the U.S., which Pyongyang has long denounced as a rehearsal for invasion.

The reactivation of the cross-border communication lines is raising hopes for the resumption of dialogue and cooperation. Unification Minister Lee In-young earlier said that South Korea will push to arrange high-level talks with North Korea before the end of this year.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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