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Inter-Korean military communication resumes

SOUTH Korean government said today that the inter-Korean military communication has been resumed early on the day.

"The military communication line was reopened before 8 am (2300GMT Friday), and the North (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK) later sent a letter of approval for border traffic by fax," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said.

Hundreds of South Korean workers and trucks will resume trips to inter-Korean industrial complex in DPRK's border city of Kaesong yesterday, the spokesman said.

The DPRK announced yesterday that it will resume the communication channel this morning.

Yesterday's decision came on the occasion of the end of a U.S.- South Korean joint military drills, in which about 26,000 U.S. troops and over 50,000 South Korean soldiers participated.

The DPRK had repeatedly expressed protests against the joint military drills and asked for the cancellation of the military exercises. However, the U.S. military and South Korean military insisted that their annual drills were "defense-oriented, focusing on military readiness posture."

In protest of the military drills, the DPRK warned on March 5 that it will not assure the safety of South Korean passenger planes flying over the territory east of its coastal line. South Korea's two major airline companies ordered its planes to change course to avoid flying over DPRK's air place later.

On March 9, the DPRK announced to cut off the inter-Korean military communication channel, resulting in delays of South Korean employees and trucks in traveling cross the inter-Korean borders.

There are 101 South Korean firms operating at the joint complex. About 39,000 DPRK workers are employed there, producing clothes, watches, kitchenware, electronic equipment and other labor-intensive goods. Their combined output was worth 250 million U.S. dollars last year, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said.


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