Cheong Wa Dae says inter-Korean communication lines should be back in operation first

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) — The office of President Moon Jae-in said Monday North Korea needs to put its hotlines with South Korea back in operation first for consultations on ways to improve bilateral ties, including the possibility of another summit between their leaders.

Park Soo-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication, described it as a method to confirm Pyongyang’s “will” to hold dialogue.

Park Soo-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication, in a file photo. (Yonhap)

He was referring to a statement by Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, that her country would consider declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, as proposed by Moon, and holding summit talks with the South, if Seoul restores mutual trust. She did not elaborate on the pre-conditions Pyongyang wants.

Park said the South Korean government is prudently analyzing Kim’s statement, speaking at a local radio interview.

He pointed out Kim had used a “vague” expression in talking about mutual trust and respect.

He added the North is still avoiding daily routine contact through the inter-Korean communication lines, restored in July, in apparent protest against the South’s annual joint defense drills with the United States.

The first step in the “best scenario,” going forward, is for the North to “respond” to the communication channel calls.

It will pave the way for various levels of dialogue, consultations and accords, he added.