South Korea agrees to restore communications channels and improve relations


Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korean and South Korean leaders have agreed to restore the interrupted communication channels between them and improve relations, the two governments said on Tuesday. That nuclear weapon.

While this move may help alleviate the hostility of the Korean Peninsula, it is unclear whether Pyongyang will revive its former active cooperation program with Seoul and return to nuclear negotiations with Washington.Some experts say Kim simply intends to hone his international image or use South Korea as leverage prior to the possibility of resuming negotiations with the United States.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-un have exchanged personal letters several times since April and have decided to normalize cross-border communications channels as the first step towards improving relations. The office said.

At a television briefing, Blue House spokesman Park Soo-hyun agreed that the two leaders would “regain mutual trust and re-develop their relationship as soon as possible.” Park said South Korea and South Korea reopened their communications channels on Tuesday morning.

The North Korean press immediately confirmed South Korea’s announcement.

“Now, the Korean Central News Agency wants the North-South relations to recover from recession and stagnation as soon as possible,” said the Korean Central News Agency. “In this regard, North and South leaders have made great strides in restoring mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring blocked North-South communication lines through several recent personal letter exchanges. Agreed to achieve. “

Last year, North Korea blocked all communication channels with South Korea in protest of South Korea’s failure to prevent activists from crossing borders to bring up anti-Pyongyang leaflets. North Korea later blew up an empty liaison office built by South Korea, just north of the border.

Many experts complain that provocative North Korean actions did not revive Seoul’s favorable North-South economic projects and could not persuade the United States to ease international sanctions on North Korea. He said it showed that he had done it.

The Moon, in favor of a larger reconciliation with North Korea, had previously made a round trip between Pyongyang and Washington to facilitate the first summit between Kim and then-President Donald Trump. However, North Korea suddenly turned its cold shoulders on the moon after the collapse of the second Kim Trump summit in early 2019 due to a controversy over US-led sanctions.

President Joe Biden’s administration has called on North Korea to return to talks since taking office in January. However, North Korea claims that it will not rejoin the negotiations unless the United States withdraws its hostile policy towards North Korea. This is a clear reference to sanctions.

Some experts have previously said that North Korea could be forced to reach out to the United States or South Korea if financial difficulties worsen. Mismanagement during the coronavirus pandemic, storm damage, and border closures further depleted North Korea’s economy, and Kim called on the public in a recent speech to prepare for long-term COVID-19 restrictions. Although his remarks may indicate that economic conditions may worsen, external surveillance groups have never seen signs of massive hunger or social turmoil in a country of 26 million people.

Professor Nam Sung-wook of Korea University said the restoration of communication channels is unlikely to lead to a dramatic improvement in relations, as at another Moon Kim Summit.

“North Korea knows that one day it will have to sit down in talks with the Biden administration. Mr. Nam believes South Korea is still of effective value … in favor of Biden. Move in the right direction. ” “North Korea can also build a (international image) that it is willing to continue dialogue with the outside world.”

Park Wong-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said North Korea will take steps to support South Korean liberals to strengthen relations with North Korea in the presidential election next March. He said he was going.

He said North Korea’s agreement to restore communications lines is unlikely to mean that pandemic-related difficulties have deteriorated to the point where they are forced to reach out for urgent help. .. He quoted reports that North Korea is still refusing to receive aid from even its major ally, China, because of concerns that aid provision may spread the virus.

Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement, which ended the 1950-53 Korean War. Since the end of the war, South Korea has remained divided along the world’s most fortified borders.

Approximately 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea to prevent a potential invasion from North Korea.