South and North Korea resumed ship-to-ship radio communication links to prevent unexpected confrontations yesterday.
This is the first contact in 10 years since their inter-Korean maritime communication was severed in 2008.
Here is Paeng Jae-yong reporting for Yonhap News TV.
A South Korean Navy vessel near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea contacted a North Korean patrol boat via a radio communication channel.
The call signs are "Mt. Halla" and "Mt. Baekdu," which they had agreed to use during the second round of the general-level talks in 2004.
<South Korean Navy Vessel> "Mt. Baekdu, Mt. Baekdu. This is Mt. Halla. Come in."
After a brief silence, the South Korean Navy called again and a North Korean patrol boat responded immediately.
<North Korean Patrol Boat> "Mt. Halla, Mt, Halla. This is Mt. Baekdu. Roger."
The two sides continued their connection for a minute and checked the connection.
The two Koreas normalized the operation of a maritime hotline for the first time in a decade in efforts to avoid any unnecessary clashes.
During the general-level talks in 2004, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to use the international communication line for merchant ships as a channel between their naval vessels and made their first contact near the NLL on June 14 of the same year.
But the line has been suspended since May 2008 as the North refused to respond to South Korean calls.
The Ministry of National Defense said, "The military authorities from the two countries normalized operations of the military hotline at sea in line with the agreements made at the Panmunjom Declaration and the eighth round of general-level talks," adding "The move shows the two Koreas are taking practical steps to uphold agreements."
The ministry said that it will step up cooperation for information-sharing on vessels engaging in illegal activities and to establish a network to avoid unexpected clashes as was agreed in 2004.
Paeng Jae-yong reporting for Yonhap News TV.
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