Seoul: North Korea on Wednesday said that it will reopen the suspended inter-Korean communication hotline with South Korea. According to the South Korean news agency, the Yonhap, the head of North Korea’s agency handling inter-Korean affairs announced that it will open the dialogue channel at the shared border village of Panmunjeom at 3:00 p.m. (Pyongyang time) today.
In February 2016, North Korea cut off two inter-Korean communication channels. This comes after South Korea’s unification ministry expressed a need to reopen an inter-Korean communication hotline.
Yesterday, South Korea proposed high-level talks with the North Korea next week, over latter’s probable participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month.
This decision was taken, following the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s re-conciliatory New Year message in a televised address to the nation yesterday. He also warned the United States saying that ‘the nuclear button’ is always on his ‘desk’.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon sought to initiate the proposed talks with North Korea in a remote North Korean village called Panmunjom, located along the heavily-guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).
A spokesperson of the South Korean presidential office welcomed that North Korea has shown interest in participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Seoul is open to talks “anytime, anyplace and in any format”, said the spokesperson. The Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place at South Korea’s Pyeongchang from February 9-25. The proposed talks come amid the increasing tension between the two countries as South Korea seized a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker returning after allegedly transferring oil to North Korea a few days ago.