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Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

North and South Korea restored communication hotlines on Monday in an attempt to improve the countries' relationship, AP reports.

State of play: North Korean officers answered calls from their South Korean counterparts for the first time in two months, per AP. The hotlines are communication channels between the Koreas used to schedule meetings, discuss border issues and avoid conflict.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said last week he was willing to reopen the hotlines to promote peace between the two nations, AP notes.

Catch up quick: North Korea had cut off the hotlines in August following the announcement that South Korea and the U.S. would have joint military exercises, per Reuters. The North Korean government considered the exercises to be invasion rehearsals.

  • Prior to August, the hotlines had not been in use for over a year since North Korea cut off communications in protest of South Korean civilian informational campaigns against it, according to AP.

What they're saying: "Long time no talk. We’re very pleased because the communication channels have been restored like this. We hope that South-North relations will develop into a new level," a Seoul official told his North Korean counterpart during a phone conversation, per AP.

  • The South Korean Defense Ministry said it hoped the hotlines' reopening would lead to a better relationship and help ease military tension, per Reuters.
  • A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Reuters that it supports the hotlines because they are "an important component in creating a more stable environment on the Korean Peninsula."

Yes, but: "It’s unclear how substantially the move will improve ties between the Koreas, as Pyongyang has a history of using the hotlines as a bargaining chip in dealings with Seoul," AP writes.

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2021 - World

North Korea says it tested a new anti-aircraft missile

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un speaking in Pyongyang in March 2020. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

North Korea tested a new anti-aircraft missile Thursday, the country announced Friday, according to AP.

Why it matters: The test was the country's latest weapons firings since it restarted missile launches in September in protest of international sanctions.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on how to view threats that climate change poses to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

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