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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, per AP.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders that began in April.

What they're saying: Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that "the whole Korean nation desires to see the North-South relations recovered from setback and stagnation as early as possible."

  • "In this regard, the top leaders of the north and the south agreed to make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring the cutoff inter-Korean communication liaison lines through the recent several exchanges of personal letters," the statement added.

Flashback: In June last year, North Korea cut the hotline, resumed military exercises, reestablished guard posts near the border and demolished an inter-Korean liaison office.

Of note: President Biden and Moon both reaffirmed the importance of North Korea's denuclearization when they met in May.

  • Biden has pledged to pursue "a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy" with North Korea​.
  • The U.S. president last month extended for another year a long-standing old executive order declaring a national emergency over the nuclear threat North Korea poses.

Go deeper... South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

More than a million viewers watch UNGA opening for K-pop band BTS

BTS speak at an event as part of the UN General Assembly 76th session on Sept. 20. Photo: John Angelillo - Pool/Getty Images

The United Nations General Assembly's livestream received an unprecedented boost in popularity Monday when more than a million viewers tuned in to watch the uber-popular Korean pop boy band BTS take the stage in the hallowed General Assembly hall.

Driving the news: The group delivered a seven-minute speech addressing climate change, vaccinations, digital interconnectedness, as well as a hopeful message about how young people can make a positive impact, per the Washington Post.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

1 hour ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.