Seoul, June 25: Representatives of South and North Korea held a meeting on Monday to discuss the total restoration of cross-border military communication lines in an attempt to reduce tension and build trust amid the recent diplomatic rapprochement. The meeting, led by South Korean Colonel Cho Yong-geun and North Korean Colonel Om Chang-nam, started at 10 a.m. at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine office in Paju, south of the inter-Korean border, a spokesperson of the South Korean Defence Ministry told Efe news.
Both sides will discuss ways to completely restore western and eastern communication lines, which were suspended during periods of diplomatic tensions, including telephone and fax lines set up years ago to prevent misunderstandings that could provoke unnecessary clashes. The western communication line was established in 2002 and was suspended in 2016 after Seoul shut down the inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong as a response to the nuclear test that the North Korean regime carried out earlier that year.
The telephone link was restored in January this year just before the Winter PyeongChang Olympic Games, which marked the beginning of a rapprochement on the Korean peninsula as well as led to the subsequent dialogue with the US. The eastern communication line was established in 2003. It was blocked in 2011 amid then-rising military tensions and completely cut off in 2013 due to a forest fire. Seoul and Pyongyang are also expected to address the reactivation of a naval communication line that has not been used for a decade as well as the use of an international commercial line as a communication channel between their military vessels. (IANS)