The restoration of a hotline between North and South Korea is a step in the right direction and could lead to warmer relations, according to analysts. South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said officials from the two countries spoke on the phone on Monday morning, their first communication since August. “The government has determined that the restoration of the South-North communication line has provided a foundation for improving inter-Korean relations,” the ministry said. What’s next for Kim Jong-un’s sister Yo-jong, his de facto No 2? The call came as both countries strengthened their armed forces. North Korea fired four missiles in less than a month , and South Korea tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile last month. The Monday call was welcomed by the United States and China. In Washington, the State Department said it strongly supported inter-Korean cooperation, calling the reconnected lines “an important component in creating a more stable environment on the Korean peninsula”. And on Twitter, Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s special representative on Korean peninsula affairs, said the restored connection was “remarkable progress”. Hwang Jae-ho, director of the Global Security Cooperation Centre at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said the call was a good sign that could pave the way for the leaders of the two countries to meet either in person or online. “Although the resumption of the hotline is not a major move, it’s a very good start, and builds public anticipation of a meeting between two countries’ leaders,” Hwang said. “Should such a meeting happen and a peace treaty be reached under [South Korean President] Moon Jae-in, it would surely become the largest political and diplomatic achievement not only for Moon himself but also for his followers who are running for the South Korean presidential election.” North and South Korea are technically still at war because no peace agreement was reached when the Korean war ended in 1953. Peking University international relations professor Liang Yunxiang said the hotline’s resumption was a positive sign but its significance should not be overestimated. “The resumption of communication is of course a good thing, and China is glad to see this move too. However, it’s largely unknown how long this rapport will last,” Liang said. “So I don’t think this move would exert any influence on the Northeast Asian security situation.” Hotlines between North Korea and South Korea have been cut and restored many times. In 2020 after a failed summit between the two sides, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean border office that had been built to improve communications. Pyongyang also cut all communication lines with Seoul, including a hotline between both leaders and military communication channels. The hotline was briefly restored in August but cut again after South Korea took part in joint military exercises with the US.