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  1. ITV Report

North Korea to reopen key cross-border communication system with South Korea

South Korean soldiers at military guard post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea. Credit: AP

North Korea has announced it will reopen a key cross-border hotline with South Korea for the first time in two years.

The announcement, read by a senior official on North Korean state TV, is another sign of easing animosity between the two countries and comes a day after South Korea offered to meet and talk with its neighbour to find ways to cooperate on next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In a new year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suggested that the North might send a delegation to the Games.

The communication channel is set to be restored at the border village of Panmunjom later on Wednesday according to the North's state-run radio station.

A South Korean government official communicates with a North Korean officer on the hotline. Credit: PA

China welcomed the move, saying it hopes the rivals will try to "meet each other halfway."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China hopes "all sides concerned will seize this positive turn of events."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been in favour of better ties with North Korea for years, campaigning on a pledge to take a softer line than his conservative predecessors.

Despite Moon, who took office in May, being pushed into a hard-line stance by the North's repeated missile and nuclear tests, he would clearly like dialogue.

Pyongyang did not say whether it would accept the South Korean offer for talks.