The two Koreas held working-level talks on fully restoring military communication lines Monday, as part of efforts to reduce tensions and build trust, officials here said.
The first colonel-grade meeting in more than seven years began at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine office in Paju, just south of the inter-Korean border, at 9:58 a.m. to follow up on an agreement at their general-grade talks earlier this month.
Army Col. Cho Yong-geun leads the South Korean delegation, while Col. Om Chang-nam represents the North.
The two militaries are to discuss ways to completely restore western and eastern communication lines, such as telephone and fax lines designed to prevent any misunderstandings that could needlessly raise tensions or trigger accidental clashes.
The two sides opened the western communication line in 2002 and the eastern one the following year.
The western line was suspended in 2016 following Seoul's shutdown of the inter-Korean industrial complex in the border city of Kaesong, but its telephone link was restored in January ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics where the North participated. The eastern line was blocked in 2011 amid military tensions and then completely severed due to a wildfire in 2013.
The two sides are also expected to talk about reactivating a naval communication line that has remained unused for a decade and using an international commercial communication line as a channel between their naval vessels. (yonhap)