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Quotes: North, South Korea restore hotlines, pledge to improve ties

·3-min read
A South Korean soldier stands guard in the truce village of Panmunjom

SEOUL (Reuters) - South and North Korea have restored hotlines that were severed last year and the two countries' leaders have agreed to rebuild trust and improve ties, the South's presidential Blue House said on Tuesday.

Following are comments from experts and statements by the two Koreas.

YANG MOO-JIN, PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH KOREAN STUDIES, SEOUL

"Hotlines form the basis of inter-Korean ties, and their reopening can be seen as a sign of recovery in the relations."

"It wouldn't probably bring an immediate turnaround in relations, but could allow them to begin restoring communications such as by sending flood warnings when typhoons hit in August, or exchanging information on COVID-19 and border issues. Ultimately, any progress between the two Koreas would have an impact on North Korea-U.S. relations, giving a boost for them to continue efforts to restart nuclear negotiations."

MOON SEONG-MOOK, RETIRED SOUTH KOREAN BRIGADIER GENERAL WHO TOOK PART IN PAST MILITARY TALKS WITH NORTH, NOW HEAD OF THE UNIFICATION STRATEGY CENTER IN SEOUL

"North Korea still thinks, 'what is the point in having dialogue with South Korea?' As long as sanctions against the North are in place, the North wants substantive easing of sanctions, and there's nothing we can help on that."

"The North might say now that we restored the hotlines, it's the South's turn to show sincerity and demand the August joint exercises by South Korea and the United States are halted."

"It won't be easy for this to lead to dialogue and exchange. There needs to be progress on the North Korea nuclear issue in order to have substantive progress (in inter-Korea ties)."

SOO KIM, FORMER CIA NORTH KOREA ANALYST, NOW AN ANALYST AT THE RAND CORPORATION

"We know North Korea has been reeling from the pandemic over the past year. That, combined with sanctions, natural disasters, and an overall decrepit economy, likely put Kim Jong Un in dire straits. So perhaps Kim is looking to Seoul to help bail him out of this 'tense' food situation and other baggage resulting from the pandemic."

"For Seoul, the hotline and resumption of communication are likely motivated by Moon’s desire to reap political if not symbolic progress in inter-Korean relations. Pyongyang, on the other hand, probably isn’t so much interested in improving relations with the South."

SOUTH KOREA'S PRESIDENTIAL BLUE HOUSE

"The restoration of the South-North communication lines will have a positive impact on the improvement and development of South-North relations."

NORTH KOREA'S OFFICIAL KCNA NEWS AGENCY

"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."

"According to the agreement made between the top leaders, the north and the south took a measure to re-operate all inter-Korean communication liaison lines from 10:00 on July 27."

"The restoration of the communication liaison lines will have positive effects on the improvement and development of the north-south relations."

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Sangmi Cha and Jack Kim. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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