Justin Bullock, FISM News
North and South Korea have agreed to restore the hotlines of communication that North Korea severed last year in an attempt to restore diplomatic talks and improve relations. South Korean Press Secretary, Park Soo-hyun, told the press that the countries have been exchanging letters between their two executives since April of this year. Due to the friendly exchange in those letters, the hotlines were restored on Tuesday.
It is unclear whether or not this will result in any meaningful action by North Korea in abandoning their pursuit of nuclear weapons. However, many international policy experts are happy that at least an open and consistent line of communication has been restored. In the world’s longest lasting ceasefire, North and South Korea have had a rollercoaster relationship since the war that divided their nation in the 1950s.
Park Soo-hyun told the press in a statement,
The two leaders have explored ways to recover relations by exchanging letters on several occasions, and agreed to restore severed hotlines as a first step for that process. They have also agreed to regain trust as soon as possible and foster progress on relations again.
The US and UN also expressed hope and optimism that restored communications would lead to de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said,
The Secretary-General fully supports the continued efforts of the parties towards the improvement of their relationship, sustainable peace and complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
At the same time many experts are hesitant to read too much into North Korea’s actions. This is because North Korea has a history of playing nice in word, as a means of trying to negotiate an easement of worldwide sanctions placed upon them. When it comes to verifiable action, the North has consistently baited the UN and US and failed to make any sort of meaningful concessions. For this reason the US and the UN are taking a wait and see approach for now, following the Reagan adage to “trust, but verify.”