North Korea Talks With South Korea After Key Hotline Is Restored

North Korea talks with South Korean officials reached a recent high point on Sunday when the two countries established their first government level communications in several years.

Officials from both countries agreed to meet in the village of Panmunjom.

Both sides agreed to new talks after Pyongyang on Friday reconnected a hotline that had been severed among recent tensions. Those tensions occurred after North Korea set off months of tensions with a long-range rocket launch in December. North Korea then followed that launch with a nuclear weapons test in February.

In April, North Korea talks completely broke down with South Korea when the country kicked South Korean workers out of an industrial complex that was meant to be a major symbol of cooperation between the two feuding sides.

The North has now issued a proposal for talks, noting that “the venue of the talks and the date for their opening can be set to the convenience of the south side.”

Officials in South Korea have been very receptive to the request for further talks, noting that officials in South Korea have “continuously” sought talks since the Kaesong facility was shutdown.

North Korea talks have led to officials in the country reopening the Red Cross hotline in the border area of Panmunjom. The Red Cross hotline was an important avenue of communications between the two companies before it was shut down.

It is still unclear if the Kaesong complex will re-open in the near future or if talks will only work to weaken relations between the two companies. The complex houses operations for more than 120 South Korean companies who rely on North Korea’s cheap labor force. Since closing the facility, more than 50,000 North Koreans have been without work and the final South Korean workers left the facility in May. North Korea closed the facility despite the fact that it is a major source of hard currency for leader Kim Jon Un’s regime.

Working-level talks are being held today in Panmunjom.

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