South and North Korea have agreed to restore a military hotline along the west coast, paving the way for the resumption of a shuttered joint industrial park, officials here said Thursday.
During a sub-committee meeting to discuss details on the resumption of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North, the two Koreas decided to restore the military hotline starting Friday, according to officials of Seoul's unification ministry.
The restoration of the communication line was one of Seoul's preconditions for the resumption of the joint park which has remained idle since April after the North unilaterally pulled its 53,000 workers in April.
Pyongyang severed the communication line in March amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the North's third nuclear test the previous month and the following sanctions against it.
The communist country has pledged to reconnect the communication line since July but has not done so, with some speculating that it may be trying to use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the South.
"As a preparatory step for the restoration, the two sides plan to make a test call at 9 a.m. on Friday," a ministry official told reporters.
After a deal last month to restart the factory park, Seoul and Pyongyang have been engaged in detailed negotiations on ways to reform its management rules, protect investments and to internationalize the complex. (Yonhap News)