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N. Korea reopens cross-border hotline to the South

Posted January. 04, 2018 08:51,   

Updated January. 04, 2018 09:40


North Korea made a phone call to South Korea via a dialogue channel at Panmunjom at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday to say that the North wants to “reopen the telephone hotline at Panmunjom following instructions given by its leader Kim Jong Un.” The North made a phone call to the South first about 2 hours and 11 minutes after it accepted the South’s offer through an announcement by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, about a resumption of communication through broadcasting on the afternoon of Tuesday. The announcement was broadcast about 23 hours after South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon proposed to have high-level, inter-Korean talks at Panmunjom on Tuesday.

“Kim Jong Un welcomed and positively, highly eval‎uated reports that South Korean President Moon Jae-in had expressed his strong support and determination for dialogue with the North at the first cabinet meeting of 2018 on Tuesday and instructed to develop practical measures on this front,” said Ri. In other words, the North tried to highlight the sympathy created between the two leaders regarding the resumption of dialogue.

The South Korean presidential office greatly welcomed the North’s positive response made only in one day after the South made the proposal. “The reopening of a communication hotline between the two Koreas is highly significant as it is a step toward being able to have dialogue anytime the two countries want to have,” said Yoon Young-chan, a senior press secretary for President Moon.

As the South and North have secured a communication channel, discussion on inter-Korean talks is expected to be facilitated. “The South is willing to visit Tongilgak, the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mt. Geumkang,” a unification ministry official told The Dong-A Ilbo. “The North has its own implications for the Kaesong Industrial Complex, but the South’s position is that it can be accepted as long as the North declared openness to the place.”

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com · Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com