North Korea plans to restore communications with South in October

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced the restoration of communications lines with South Korea starting in early October.

Seoul, 30 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced the restoration of communications lines with South Korea starting in early October.

Kim’s remarks came in a speech at the second session of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly held Wednesday, North Korean state media KCNA reported Thursday.

Kim wanted the lines restored as part of efforts to improve relations and build peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim also used the speech to criticize what he called South Korea’s slavish devotion to the United States and those two countries’ continued close military cooperation.

He accused the South Korean authorities of a “confrontational” attitude towards North Korea and charged that “the US remains utterly unchanged in posing military threats and pursuing hostile policy” towards it.

The North Korean leader called an offer of diplomatic engagement and dialogue without preconditions by the US administration of President Joe Biden “no more than a petty trick” and an extension of what he termed a “hostile policy” towards his country pursued by successive US administrations.

North and South Korea had reopened communication channels between the governments and the military at the end of July after they were unilaterally cut by North Korea last year due to new tensions.

But after only two weeks, North Korea stopped the connection in protest against joint annual military exercises by South Korea and the US.

Whether Kim is looking for a direct route to dialogue with Seoul by re-opening communications links is unclear.

Pyongyang recently held out the prospect of talks with its neighbors, including a new summit, under certain conditions.

North Korea, which is subject to international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons program, caused tension this month with new missile tests.

The country said it had tested a newly developed hypersonic missile earlier this week.

Hypersonic describes speeds above five times the speed of sound – more than 6,000 kilometers per hour. Weapons of this type are difficult to intercept.

North Korea also fired two short-range missiles two weeks ago.

South Korean President Moon Jae In described the test as a “provocation” at the time.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on their design, can also carry a nuclear warhead.

Negotiations between North Korea and the United States have not made any progress since Kim’s failed summit with former US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February 2019.

Intra-Korean relations have also suffered from the stalemate.

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