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Eyes on inter-Korean breakthrough after restoration of communication lines Updated: 2021-07-28 10:00:19 KST

Eyes are on whether the two Koreas will make a breakthrough now that they've restored their communication lines.
Since they were first set up in 1971, the lines have been cut off and restored repeatedly following incidents between the two Koreas.
They were restored this time more than a year after the North blew up the inter-Korean liaison office last year as it condemned anti-regime leaflets sent across the border by activists.

Talks with the North have remained stalled since the Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi fell apart in 2019.
During the Moon-Biden summit in May, the two leaders agreed to work for the Korean Peninsula peace process based on the 2018 Panmunjeom Declaration and the Singapore Joint Statement.
Experts say the restoration of the lines is a positive sign that North Korea could return to dialogue not only with Seoul, but also with Washington.
But it remains to be seen how much progress there will actually be.

"It is a pretty much positive sign in terms of the inter-Korean relations for sure. But I'm not sure North Korea has decided to resume any kinds of talks with the United States. Because [they] just released a very simple statement."

Experts also note that there are sticking points, including the upcoming South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises.

"If we interpret this move by North Korea as the signalling for improving the relations with United States or South Korea, we want to tone down the scale of the joint military drills in August, whereas the United States probably wants to have regular joint military drills."

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic is making the situation more difficult, as the North has imposed stricter lockdown measures.
Seoul's unification ministry says it is ready to resume talks on pending issues using video conferencing.
Experts say more active cooperation and talks with Pyeongyang could be possible once the pandemic is under control.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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