Koreas restores hot line, sign of easing tension

The two Koreas restored a key hot line that had been severed after March`s deadly sinking of a South Korean warship.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2010, 16:02 PM IST

Seoul: The two Koreas on Monday restored a key
hot line that had been severed after March`s deadly sinking of
a South Korean warship, another sign that tension on the
divided peninsula is easing.

Relations between the Koreas plunged to their lowest
point in years after the sinking, which killed 46 sailors and
which an international investigation blamed on a North Korean
torpedo attack. North Korea has denied any responsibility in
the incident.

South Korea in May responded with a package of punitive
measures against North Korea, such as drastically slashing
trade. An angry North Korea retaliated by cutting off major
hot lines with South Korea and expelling Seoul officials from
a joint factory park in the North.

Since August, the North has made several conciliatory
gestures, such as releasing detained South Korean fishermen
and agreeing to resume a program to bring together families
separated decades ago by war.

The North over the weekend proposed reviving a telephone
hot line with a South Korean airplane control center and the
aviation authorities of the two countries exchanged a test
call via the line today morning, according to Seoul`s
Unification Ministry.

Other inter-Korean telephone hot lines such as one
between their maritime authorities remained cut off, the
ministry said.

PTI