North and South Korea have restored hotlines across the demilitarized zone after a yearlong disconnect, in a surprise move that the two warring nations said was part of an effort to rebuild trust.
"We hope that inter-Korean communications are never again suspended," Lee Jong-joo, representative for the south's Unification Ministry, in charge of interKorean relations, told reporters, "and that we can discuss various inter-Korean issues and implement agreements through the restored channels."
South Korea's presidential Blue House and the North's state media agency, KCNA, both issued statements announcing the decision.
According to the Blue House, reopening communication lines would have a "positive impact on the improvement and development of South-North relations."
KCNA also praised the decision's "positive effects," calling it "a big stride in recovering mutual trust and promoting reconciliation."
According to reports, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been exchanging multiple letters to try to improve their strained ties since April.
The breakdown in June 2020 was contentious. The North blew up a liaison office in Kaesong, which served as a de facto embassy, and accused the South of treacherously allowing defectors and dissidents to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border into the North.
North Korea also conducted several ballistic missile tests, despite the fact that it has not conducted nuclear or strategic missile tests since 2017.
Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, referred to Moon as a "parrot," repeating what she called the U.S.' "gangster-like logic" as recently as March.
The U.S. supports inter-Korean engagement, and diplomacy is critical to achieving complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, according to a representative who welcomed the hotlines' reopening Tuesday.
In June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration was determined to appoint a North Korea human rights envoy but did not provide a timeline.