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N.Korea to reopen inter-Korean hotlines on Monday, urges South to mend ties By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A North Korea flag is seen flying next to concertina wire in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2017, by the North Korean Embassy. REUTERS/Edgar Su


Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters] -North Korea announced Monday that it will restore inter-Korean hotlines, but urged South Korea for greater efforts to improve relations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness last week to reactivate the hotlines, which North Korea cut off in early August in protest against joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, just days after reopening them for the first time in a year.

According to the official KCNA news agency, lines will be reconnected at 9:00 a.m. (0200 GMT). Seoul was asked to fulfill its “tasks”, which were to restore cross-border ties. However, no further information was provided.

Kim had urged South Korea to abandon its “double standards” and “delusion” over the North’s self-defensive military activities while developing its own weapons.

“The South Korean authorities need to make positive attempts to set the north-south ties in a straight track, and to settle the crucial tasks that must be completed to create bright prospects for the future,” KCNA reported.

Tension had flared since the hotlines were severed, with North Korea warning of a security crisis and firing a series of new missiles, including a hypersonic missile, an anti-aircraft missile, and a “strategic” cruise missile with potential nuclear capabilities.

The launch highlighted the fact that this country, which is isolated from other countries, has continued to develop increasingly advanced weapons despite stalled negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear and missile programs in return for U.S. Sanction Relief.

While accusing Washington of “hostile policy,” Pyongyang has said it is willing to mend inter-Korean relations and consider another summit if Seoul drops double standards.

Analysts believe the North is using a carrot-and stick approach to secure international recognition of its nuclear weapons status and drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States. They also count on South Korean President Moon Jae In’s willingness to leave a lasting diplomatic legacy, before his term expires in May.

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