Daily communication between the two Koreas was suspended Friday, as North Korea did not respond to regular contact via a cross-border liaison line and a military hotline, the South Korean government said.
The suspension comes amid heightened tensions caused by North Korea’s weapons tests in protest of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States.
“The North was unresponsive to the closing call via the joint liaison hotline at 5 p.m. after it did not answer the opening call at 9 a.m.,” Seoul’s unification ministry said.
The ministry earlier said as there was no problem with communication lines in the South, it will closely monitor the situation, including the possibility of a technical problem in the North.
The two Koreas typically hold phone calls twice a day at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. via their joint liaison office channel.
The North also did not respond to two regular daily calls via the military communication channel, according to the South’s military.
The government is seeking to find out the reason for the North’s unresponsiveness, including the possibility of technical glitches.
The North may have severed the communication channels to protest the allies’ military exercises or the ministry’s latest publication of a report on the North’s human rights violations.
Regular phone calls via inter-Korean communication channels have previously gone unanswered due to technical reasons. Last June, Pyongyang did not respond to a regular hotline call apparently due to technical glitches caused by heavy rains.
In July 2021, the North restored the inter-Korean hotline, about a year after it severed the contact channel in protest against Seoul activists’ leaflet campaigns critical of Pyongyang. The liaison line was again cut off in October and restored later.