North and South Korea announced Tuesday that they have agreed to improve relations between their countries and have restored communication channels, in the middle of ongoing U.S. diplomacy aimed at getting North Korea to get rid of its nuclear arsenal.
The presidential office in Seoul said that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reached the agreement after several letters were sent between the two leaders since April, Politico reported.
Blue House spokesman Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing that the two leaders have agreed to “restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible.” A statement that state media in North Korea quickly echoed, according to Politico. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Might Be Vacationing On A ‘Floating Amusement Park’)
“Now, the whole Korean nation desires to see the North-South relations recovered from setback and stagnation as early as possible,” the official Korean Central News Agency said, according to Politico. “In this regard, the top leaders of the North and the South agreed to make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring the cutoff inter-Korean communication liaison lines through the recent several exchanges of personal letters.”
North Korea said it wanted to improve ties with South Korea “as early as possible” as the two countries reopened communication hotlines after 14 months. https://t.co/3m0oUPKzi4
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North Korea had severed all communication channels with South Korea in 2019 when the relationship between the two countries deteriorated quickly with Pyongyang accusing South Korea of failing to stop activists from floating anti-North Korea leaflets across the border, according to Politico.
North and South Korea have agreed to improve relations even as the nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have seen little progress since 2019, when talks between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump broke down. (RELATED: Biden Admin To Ease Trump Sanctions Regime On Key American Adversaries)
After U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said in June that he expected a breakthrough in negotiations with Pyongyang, North Korean state media quoted Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, apparently ridiculed Sullivan for his comments.
“It seems that the U.S. may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself. The expectation, which they chose to harbor the wrong way, would plunge them into a greater disappointment.”
Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the armistice which officially ended three years of bloody fighting and brought the Korean War to an end.