The North Korean leader has warned of escalating hostilities on the eve of a joint military exercise by South Korea and the US.

Iran PressAsia: North Korea's official news agency reported on Friday that Kim Jong-un accused the "hostile forces" of intensifying "unbridled and persistent violent military exercises."

He noted that "such a situation would strengthen the resolve of the Korean People's Army to destroy the root cause of this vicious cycle of escalating tensions."

"Currently, hostile forces are systematically stepping up their ability to launch pre-emptive strikes on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and at the same time intensify all kinds of unbridled and ongoing war drills for weapons. They are increasing themselves," the North Korean leader said.

Kim urges all [North Korean] military and political cadres to do their utmost to strengthen the combat effectiveness of their units. 

Kim called on his country's soldiers to dedicate their lives to protecting the North Korean people and their property, and stressed the importance of these soldiers' pride in their role as "creators of happiness for the people and guardians of the people's trust in the [ruling] party."

Meanwhile, a senior South Korean official on Friday called for a suspension of next month's military exercises with the United States, stressing that now was the "right time" for Seoul and Washington to work together to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.

The remarks come as South Korea and the United States speculate about how the exercise will occur and how it will occur in mid-August (late August) and are concerned that its implementation could affect the two countries' actions this week.

The Blue House (South Korean presidential palace) announced that Pyongyang and Seoul had re-established the emergency telephone lines that North Korea cut off a year ago.

"The two leaders have repeatedly exchanged views on ways to improve relations and agreed to connect disconnected telephone lines as a first step in this process," said Park Soo-Hyun, a spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in. "They also agreed to restore trust and strengthen relations as soon as possible."

North Korean media also hailed telephone lines as a significant step in building mutual trust and promoting reconciliation.

Nearly a year after the explosion and destruction of the Seoul-Pyongyang communications and coordination office in North Korea, the two countries are said to have resumed talks to restore relations, Reuters reported.

"North and South Korea are in talks to reopen a joint communications office and hold a meeting to revive relations," the news agency quoted three South Korean government officials as saying.

One of the sources - who did not want to be named - said Moon and Kim were exploring ways to improve the strained bilateral relationship by sending a letter in April.


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