Seoul, June 25: South Korea and North Korea held working-level talks on Monday on the issue of moving forward with restoration of cross-border military communication lines in an attempt to reduce tension and build trust amid the recent diplomatic rapprochement.
The meeting, led by South Korean Colonel Cho Yong-geun and North Korean Colonel Om Chang-nam, started at 10 a.m. at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine office in Paju, south of the inter-Korean border, a spokesperson of the South Korean Defence Ministry said.
Both sides will discuss ways to completely restore western and eastern communication lines, which were suspended during periods of diplomatic tensions, including telephone and fax lines set up years ago to prevent misunderstandings that could provoke unnecessary clashes.
The two sides opened the western communication line in 2002 and the eastern one was established in 2003.
The western communication line was suspended in 2016 after Seoul shut down the inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong as a response to the nuclear test that the North Korean regime conducted that year.
The telephone link was restored in January this year just before the Winter PyeongChang Olympic Games, which marked the beginning of a rapprochement on the Korean peninsula as well as led to the subsequent dialogue with the US.
The eastern communication line was blocked in 2011 amid then-rising military tensions and completely cut off in 2013 due to a forest fire.