Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two Koreas to restore border hotline

Two Koreas to restore border hotline*

Wed Jan 12, 2011

Lee Jong-joo, spokeswoman for the South's Unification Ministry

Amid high tensions between the two Koreas, North Korea has reopened a border hotline with the South despite rejection of its latest call for dialogue.

The South Korean Unification Ministry spokeswoman, Lee Jong-joo, said on Wednesday that her country and the North are working to restore the important cross-border communication channel, the Associated Press reported.

According to the spokesperson, telecommunication workers from the two Koreas are setting up the Red Cross communication line at the border village of Panmunjom.

She also pointed out that the ministry will reopen a liaison office in a jointly run industrial park on the northern side of the border.

Lee said the North needed to come to talks "with a sincere attitude to solve underlying issues to improve the current South Korea-North Korea relationship."

The North cut off the line last year following a tension between Pyongyang and Seoul over a South Korean warship which was sunk by a torpedo allegedly fired by North Korea.

Forty-six sailors died in the incident, which Seoul blamed on Pyongyang -- a charge strongly denied by the North.

Relations between the Koreas further soured after the two Koreas also engaged in a deadly border clash in November, with the North shelling a South Korean village.

The fighting left four South Koreans dead and both sides blamed each other for the clash.

Seeking to curb tensions with Seoul, the North has recently proposed resuming talks with South Korea to defuse tension but Seoul has so far rebuffed the offer.


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