South Korea hopes for the speedy restoration of communication lines with North Korea and the work of the Inter-Korean Liaison Office, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Monday.
The countries declared their communication lines restored on July 27 for the first time after they were severed in June 2020. However, Pyongyang has ignored Seoul’s phone calls via inter-Korean lines amid the joint military exercises held by South Korea and the United States in August.
South Korea has made consistent efforts to normalize inter-Korean relations, the ministry said.
“The ROK [Republic of Korea] Government hopes to see the resumption of government-level talks following the prompt restoration of inter-Korean communications lines, bringing stability to the peninsula and allowing for discussions and resolutions of various pending issues,” ministerial spokesperson Lee Jong Joo told a briefing.
The statements underscored the positive tone of Pyongyang’s reaction to a proposal of an end-of-war declaration, advanced by South Korea President Moon Jae-in at the 76th UN General Assembly. Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean leader and the deputy department director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee, responded by describing the idea as “interesting and admirable.”
The North Korean government has also expressed readiness to hold a leaders’ summit and restore the liaison office on the condition of mutual respect and fairness.
“All such statements are perceived as meaningful,” the spokesperson said, adding that Pyongyang has nonetheless continued to ignore Seoul’s calls through the hotlines.
In 1953, both South and North Korea reached the Armistice Agreement that ended the devastating three-year conflict. However, the Korean Peninsula is still formally at war because the war ended without a peace treaty.