Two Koreas agree to restore military hotlines across the inter-Korean coastal borders

The Ministry of National Defense said Monday the two Koreas agreed to restore hotlines across the inter-Korean coastal borders.
“The two Koreas ended their colonel-level negotiations at 10:53 a.m. Monday to reconnect the military communication lines on the west and east coasts,” the ministry said after holding a working-level military dialogue with North Korea.
The meeting was organized to discuss follow-up measures after Seoul and Pyongyang signed a series of inter-Korean military agreements in mid-June.
South Korea sent a five-member delegation ― led by Army Colonel Cho Yong-geun ― to discuss military issues with its northern counterpart headed by Colonel Om Chang-nam. The hour-long talks kicked off at 9:58 a.m. at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) office at Dorasan Station in the South’s Paju City, according to the ministry.
This is the two Koreas’ first colonel-level military dialogue since February 2011.
A communication line on the inter-Korean western coastal border resumed operation this January, but both sides can only exchange phone calls via the hotline without fax lines. The two Koreas also need to fully restore communication channels on the eastern border area where communications have been suspended since November 2010 due to a forest fire.
The latest talks were part of a military agreement made between generals June 14 to fully restore cross-border military hotlines on the east and west coasts.
Seoul and Pyongyang established six military communication lines on the coasts in 2002 and 2003. But calls have grown that the hotlines should be restored, as the North did not properly maintain them.
The series of inter-Korean military engagements come amid the ongoing peace momentum on the Korean Peninsula following the historic April 27 Panmunjeom Declaration.
The declaration ― signed by leaders of the two Koreas ― states that Seoul and Pyongyang will put a complete end to any military provocations against each other and build a lasting peace here.
The reconciliation signs started earlier this year when the North expressed a strong willingness to denuclearize the peninsula and pledged to engage in a series of inter-Korean activities for peace.
Under the Panmunjeom Declaration, the two Koreas also reached an agreement to continue holding dialogues on the military side toward the goal of ending the technical state of war no later than the end of this year.

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