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Two Koreas restore military hotline amid cross-border talks

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Published : 2013-09-06 14:05
Updated : 2013-09-06 14:05

South and North Korea restored a military hotline along the west coast on Friday to coordinate cross-border travel as the two sides work toward reopening a shuttered joint industrial park.

Shortly before 11:00 a.m., a South Korean liaison officer at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine office spoke with his North Korean counterpart over the phone to test the telephone lines, a senior official at the defense ministry said.

The military hotline had been used to provide safe passage for South Korean businessmen visiting the joint complex in Gaeseong before Pyongyang severed the communication line in March amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the North's third nuclear test the previous month.

South and North Korean officials on Thursday agreed to restore the military hotline as they seek to reopen the Gaeseong industrial park, which has remained idle since April after the North unilaterally pulled its 53,000 workers from the complex.

In June, the two Koreas restored a Red Cross hotline in the truce village of Panmunjom.

There are military hotlines connected to the North on the eastern coast and western coast used by officials of both sides, but Pyongyang cut the eastern line in 2011 after Seoul's suspension of tours to the North's Mount Kumgang following the shooting death of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean guard in 2008. (Yonhap News)

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