North, South Korea restore hotline after eight-monthBy DPA, IANS
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
SEOUL - North Korea Wednesday reopened a Red Cross hotline with South Korea, an official in Seoul said, as Pyongyang steps up its efforts to re-engage in talks and get much-needed aid flowing again.
Officials reestablished contact in the joint truce village of Panmunjom, eight months after North Korea shut down the hotline after the South blamed it for the sinking of one of its warships, the Yonhap News Agency quoted an official of Seoul’s Unification Ministry as saying.
Pyongyang has been increasing efforts to resume dialogue despite increased tension following the sinking of the Cheonan in March and the North’s shelling of a Southern border island in November.
It also announced it would reopen a consultation office in the border town of Kaesong where the two countries operate a joint industrial park.
Seoul regards the overtures as insincere, demanding that the impoverished Stalinist state first accept responsibility for the sinking and proves its commitment to international denuclearisation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programme.