January 12, 2011 / 4:44 AM / 9 years ago

Rival Koreas resume contact via border "hotline"

A North Korean soldier briefs North Korean officials visiting the truce village of Panmunjom. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea contacted South Korea via a border “hotline” on Wednesday, a government official in Seoul said, in 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.

“They talked from 12:15 to 12:25, and the line is now open,” a unification ministry official said without providing further details.

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 apologies for two deadly attacks last year.

Reporting by Danbee Moon; Writing by Jeremy Laurence; Editing by Alex Richardson

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