South Korea helps North Korea modernize hot lines

Associated Press

South Korea sent fiber-optic cables and other equipment to North Korea on Wednesday to help its communist neighbor modernize military hot lines with the South — the latest sign of improving relations.

The shipment of communication equipment and materials worth 850 million won ($712,000) comes days after the South offered to send the North 10,000 tons of corn in its first direct food aid to the impoverished nation in nearly two years.

The North cut off six of nine hot lines in May 2008, citing technical problems, amid high tensions between the sides.

The lines were restored in September, and Pyongyang recently asked Seoul to help modernize the lines.

For a decade, South Korea was one of the biggest donors to the North, which has faced chronic food shortages since flooding and mismanagement destroyed its economy in the mid-1990s.


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