North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has exchanged several letters since April with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, Seoul announced Tuesday, in a possible sign Pyongyang is ready to resume talks with the outside world.
As part of the exchange, the two men agreed to restore an inter-Korean hotline at the border village of Panmunjom, with a first phone call occurring at 10 a.m. Tuesday local time, South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency confirmed the hotline restoration and letter exchange, calling the moves a “big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation” between the two Koreas.
“Now, the whole Korean nation desires to see the north-south relations recovered from setback and stagnation as early as possible,” the KCNA report said.
The dialogue appears to be the most significant North-South interaction in more than two years.
Moon and Kim met three times in 2018, signing several agreements to improve inter-Korean relations. The talks broke down after the United States and North Korea failed to make progress on nuclear negotiations.
South Korea’s left-leaning administration, which has less than a year left in office, has consistently pushed for a resumption of talks. It said Tuesday it hopes the hotline restoration will be the first step in a wider improvement of ties.
Moon and Kim “agreed to restore mutual trust and re-progress the relationship as soon as possible between the two Koreas,” the statement from Seoul’s presidential office read.
Earlier this month, South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo reported the existence of the Moon-Kim letter exchange, saying the two men were discussing a fourth, virtual summit. South Korean officials have not commented on the possibility of another meeting.