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    Koreas Resume Contact Via Border "Hotline"


    by NTDTelevision

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    South Korea says it was contacted by North Korea via a phone "hotline" for 10 minutes Tuesday. North Korea says it will reopen a Red Cross hotline and a liasion office along the border. South Korea dismissed the talks, saying they're insincere.

    South Korea's unification ministry says that North Korea contacted the South via a border hotline of sorts on Tuesday.

    This is the first direct communication between the neighbors since the North's deadly shelling of a South Korean island in November.

    Pyongyang has called for talks with Seoul, saying it would reopen a Red Cross hotline at the joint border village of Panmunjom and a liaison office in a jointly run industrial park on the northern side of the border.

    Earlier in the day, the ministry said the hotlines were under examination upon the North's request to resume the communication.

    [Lee Jong-joo, Spokeswoman, South Korean Unification Ministry]:
    "Around 9 a.m. today, North Korea requested to check hotline to resume the Panmunjom communication, so South and North Korean communication technicians are examining technical issues such as checking lines. If the North contacts us via the hotline, we are going to deliver our position that the hotline should never be cut off unilaterally like this."

    The South has dismissed the North's offer for talks as insincere, saying its actions mirror past tactics to get financial support and aid.

    Seoul demands the North acknowledge and apologize for two deadly attacks last year.