South Korea urges North to restore hotlines for any talks

Sep 26, 2021, 2:11 AM | Updated: 6:35 am
Visitors watch the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, nea...

Visitors watch the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday that her country will take steps to repair ties with South Korea, and may even discuss another summit between their leaders, if the South drops what she described as hostility and double standards. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Sunday urged North Korea to restore dormant communication hotlines, a day after the North repeated an offer to open conditional talks.

The North might be seeking to extract concessions about two weeks after it raised tensions by carrying out its first missile tests in six months. North Korea has twice reached out to South Korea saying it’s open to talks if conditions are met.

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Saturday the two Koreas can take steps toward reconciliation if South Korea abandons “hostile polices” and “double-dealing standards.”

She didn’t elaborate on what specific steps she wants South Korea to take. But some experts say North Korea wants South Korea to play a role in winning relief from U.S.-led sanctions, getting aid, or receiving other concessions such as international recognition as a nuclear weapons state.

On Sunday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry called Kim Yo Jong’s statement “meaningful,” saying the South has been consistently pushing to achieve denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue.

To hold talks on beginning steps toward reconciliation, a ministry statement said that suspended cross-border communication lines must be reactivated quickly to promote stable communications between the divided countries. It said Seoul hopes the two Koreas can resume talks on many pending issues.

The South Korean statement refers to a set of phone- and fax-like communication channels between the rivals, which have been largely dormant for more than a year. The two Koreas briefly resumed communications over the channels for about two weeks this summer, but North Korea later refused to exchange messages again after Seoul staged annual military drills with Washington.

Earlier this month, North Korea carried out tests of ballistic and cruise missiles in its first such launches since March, displaying an ability to attack South Korea and Japan, both key U.S. allies. North Korea still maintains a moratorium on testing longer-range missiles capable of reaching the American homeland, a suggestion that it wants to keep alive the chances for future diplomacy with the U.S.

Relations between the Koreas flourished in 2018, when Seoul helped arrange high-profile nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang, including a summit between Kim Jong Un and then-U.S. President Donald Trump. But Pyongyang cut off ties with Seoul after the Kim-Trump diplomacy broke down in 2019 due to disputes over the U.S.-led sanctions.

The recent North Korean outreach came as a response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s renewed calls for a political declaration to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War as a way to promote peace. The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically at war.

As possible reconciliation steps, Kim Yo Jong floated the idea of announcing the war’s end as Moon wished, rebuilding a joint liaison office that North Korea destroyed last year and holding an inter-Korean summit.

North Korea’s already devastated economy has suffered further recent setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated its external trade, mostly with its last major ally, China. Kim Jong Un has said his country faces the “worst-ever” crisis due to a combination of the pandemic, the sanctions and natural disasters last year.

It’s unclear if the Norths’ outreach would provide it with badly needed sanctions relief and other rewards. U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed hopes to sit down for talks with North Korea, but have also made it clear they will continue sanctions until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., calls on a reporter as he speaks after a Democratic p...
Associated Press

Biden’s climate plan at risk, Democrats race to strike deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s climate change strategy all but dashed, Democratic lawmakers headed to the White House Tuesday searching for new ways to narrow, reshape and swiftly wrap up negotiations on what had been his sweeping $3.5 trillion budget plan. Nearly 20 centrist and progressive lawmakers met in separate […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, listens on the fl...
Associated Press

Lawsuit challenges Oklahoma ban on teaching race theory

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group of Oklahoma students and educators on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that bans the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism. The law, HB 1775, also prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to undergo gender or sexual diversity training. The American […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

21 Chicago cops put on ‘no pay status’ in vaccine standoff

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Tuesday that 21 officers have been placed on “no pay status” for refusing to comply with the city’s order to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. Brown said that the refusals have not affected staffing. Brown, who disclosed that three members of his own family who he […]
18 hours ago
This Henderson Detention Center booking photo shows entertainer Flavor Flav following his arrest Oc...
Associated Press

Vegas lawyers: 2 sides to Flavor Flav domestic battery case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Entertainer Flavor Flav will fight a misdemeanor domestic battery charge stemming from a scuffle with his girlfriend at home in suburban Las Vegas, his attorneys said Tuesday. The 62-year-old former rapper, hip-hop and reality TV star, whose legal name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., was arrested late Oct. 4 after Henderson […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo, Summer Zervos leaves Manhattan Supreme Court at the conclu...
Associated Press

Trump aims to countersue sex assault accuser who sued him

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump wants to countersue a former “Apprentice” contestant who accused him of defaming her when he denied her sexual assault allegations. Saying that Trump is being harassed to keep him from speaking freely, his lawyer asked a court’s permission Monday to pursue a counterclaim against Summer Zervos. The […]
18 hours ago
South Korean army K-9 self-propelled howitzers move in Paju, near the border with North Korea, Sout...
Associated Press

N Korea confirms missile test designed for submarine launch

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced Wednesday that it had tested a newly developed missile designed to be launched from a submarine, the first such weapons test in two years and one it says will bolster its military’s underwater operational capability. The test Tuesday was the fifth missile launch since September and came […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
South Korea urges North to restore hotlines for any talks