DPRK reopens military hotline with South Korea in west region

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reopened a military hotline with South Korea across the western border Tuesday on the occasion of the inter-Korean high-level talks underway in the truce village of Panmunjom.

A South Korean government official who declined to be identified told reporters that the DPRK informed the South Korean side during the morning session of the talks of the restoration of the cross-border military hotline, allowing for direct dialogue between the two Koreas.

South Korea’s military checked the communications channel in the western region, confirming the restored hotline at about 2:00 p.m. local time (0500 GMT).

The military authorities between the two Koreas are currently capable of communicating with each other through the reopened channel, the official said.

Beginning Wednesday, South Korea will normally operate the inter-Korean military channel, which had been severed since South Korea unilaterally closed down the inter-Korean industrial zone in the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong in February 2016.

The shutdown came in response to Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear detonation in the previous month.

The inter-Korean military hotline in the eastern border had yet to be reopened as it was damaged in 2011 for fire.

The intergovernmental hotline between the two Koreas was restored last week in the liaison office of Panmunjom, where delegations from South Korea and the DPRK were holding the first senior-level dialogue in about two years.

Another working-level contact between the two sides started at 6:25 p.m. local time (0925 GMT) at the Peace House, a South Korean building in Panmunjom, to arrange a joint communique for the inter-Korean talks.

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