North and South Korea have reinstated a communication hotline that was cut off by North Korea last year.
In a statement from South Korea’s presidential office, the respective leaders of the two countries have agreed to improve ties and rebuild trust in one another.
Several personal letters have also been exchanged between the leaders, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the statement added.
The communication hotline was cut in June 2020 as relations soured after a failed second summit between Kim Jong-un and former US President Donald Trump, which President Moon had offered to mediate.
Shortly after the hotline was cut off, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean border office that had originally been built to improve communications between the two nations.
The announcement came as the two Koreas marked the 68th anniversary of the agreement to stop fighting that ended the 1950-53 Korean war.
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said: “According to the agreement made between the top leaders, the north and the south took a measure to re-operate all inter-Korean communication liaison lines from 10:00 on July 27.
“The top leaders agreed to make a big stride in recovering mutual trust and promoting reconciliation,” it added.
Representatives from both Koreas spoke on the phone for a couple of minutes, with the South Korean Ministry of Unification adding that calls would be conducted every day from Tuesday 27th July 2021.
“We’re glad to talk again after over a year. We hope this… [brings] good news to all Korean people,” said a spokesperson for South Korea.
President Moon had called for the hotline to be restored and for talks to be held to discuss the dismantling of the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Technically, the two Koreas still remain at war as the 1950-1953 Korean war ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.