HomeGeopoliticsIn a surprising move, Hotlines relinked between North and South Korea

In a surprising move, Hotlines relinked between North and South Korea

A surprise flies amidst the letter which was exchanged between leaders in Seoul and Pyongyang 

The hotlines that were stripped off last year between North Korea and South Korea have been reconciled now. This surprising move was believed to be a step forward for rebuilding trust between both countries. In this surprising move, the Unification Ministry said telephone lines installed at the truce village of Panmunjom were restored.

This decision was announced by a joint release of the presidential blue house in South Korea and the KCNA, North Korea’s state media agency. 

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The KCNA said that the communication channels between both the countries were reopened at 10 am with an agreement between the leaders and also added that this is a big stride towards recovering and mutual trust and promoting reconciliation. The Blue House said that this move shall have a ‘positive impact on the development and improvement of both neighbouring countries.’

This move comes after a year and a month when the last shut down of cross border connections was drawn because of the failure to stop activist from sending propaganda leaflets across the border. But the leaders on either sides of the country ie South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has been in a repertoire of exchanging letters since April this year. 

Kim closed the borders with China this year early because of the Covid -19 pandemic and talked about the problems plaguing the country this year. He mentioned that the five year economic plan had failed in every strata amid the chronic power and food shortages which were exacerbated by sanctions, pandemic and floods. He also described the food situation as ‘tense.’

Soo Kim, who is a former CIA North Korean analyst told AlJazeera that “We know North Korea has been reeling from the pandemic over the past year and that combined with sanctions, natural disasters, and an overall decrepit economy, likely put Kim Jong Un in dire straits. So perhaps Kim is looking to Seoul to help bail him out of this ‘tense’ food situation and other baggage resulting from the pandemic.”

North Korea severed the hotlines in 2020 with the Southern counterpart after the talks failed between North Korea and the USA- where South Korea had assured the platform for mediation but failed. Moon was credited with brokering a deal between Kim and former USA President Trump in June 2018 where Trump called for a recovery of the hotlines and the stalled denuclearisation talks. The current USA president Joe Biden promised a new approach towards North Korean and a more “practical and calibrated” policy.

Sung Kim, the top US diplomat in charge of North Korea politics said, “Washington was ready to meet officials from Pyongyang “anywhere, anytime, without preconditions.” But Kim Yo Jong and his sister rebuffed the offer.

Yang Moo-jin who is a professor at the university of North Korean studies told the AFP news agency that “It looks like he has decided that restoring inter-Korean relations is beneficial to the North’s both domestic and foreign policies and politics.”

The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.