Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Koreas open 1st liaison office for better communication

Koreas open 1st liaison office for better communication

The two Koreas have sought to pursue joint projects in multiple fields since the April summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong-un in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, even as USA efforts to secure concrete progress towards Pyongyang's denuclearization have stalled.

North Korea slammed the United States for circulating "preposterous falsehoods" and conducting a vicious smear campaign on Friday, after Washington charged an alleged hacker for the North Korean government in connection with a series of major cyberattacks, including the 2014 assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Han Yong Song, a researcher of the Institute for American Studies of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement Friday issued through the state-run Korean Central News Agency that the man listed in the complaint, Park Jin Hyok, was a "non-entity".

"Their view is that North Korea is not serious about denuclearizing", one official told Glasser.

There Kim backed denuclearisation of the "Korean peninsula", but no details were agreed and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since over what that means and how it will be achieved.

That followed what Trump described as a "very warm" letter from Kim requesting another meeting, which rekindled hopes for progress.

The North Korean statement said those incidents "had nothing to do with us".

Meanwhile, relations between North and South Korea continue their dramatic improvement.

South and North Korean officials attend an opening ceremony of a joint liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea, on September 14, 2018.

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North and South Korea have opened a liaison office on the North's side of the heavily militarised border to facilitate better communication and exchanges ahead of their leaders' summit in Pyongyang next week.

The office is the first of its kind since the two countries were divided at the end of World War II in 1945.

The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty, and both sides remain technically at war.

The resumptions of the Kaesong park and other dormant inter-Korean cooperation projects won't likely happen anytime soon because USA -led global sanctions on North Korea remain in place.

The New Yorker's Susan Glasser recently talked with several former USA government officials and allied diplomats who have received briefings from Trump administration officials about North Korean denuclearization efforts, and they've all come away believing that leader Kim Jong-un has shown no intention of relinquishing his country's nuclear weapons. It will be open from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday but staffed around the clock, according to a joint agreement signed by both sides.

The two Koreas previously communicated by fax and special telephone lines, which were often severed when their relations took a turn for the worse.

"It feels like a strong bridge connecting the South and the North has been set up over the rapids flowing over the Korean Peninsula, which has been somewhat calmed down but still a raging torrent", presidential Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-keum said in a statement.

The project, where South Korean firms employed Northern staff, opened in 2004, when it was hailed as a symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation and exchanges. "We look forward to a day when such harmonious image of life will spread beyond Kaesong across the entire Korean Peninsula".

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