North Korea on Wednesday reopened a communication channel with South Korea that it had closed down almost two years ago on the orders of its leader Kim Jong-Un, The Korea Times reported.

Liaison officers from the two countries at the truce village of Panmunjeom talked over the hotline around 3.30 pm (12 pm IST), the Ministry of Unification said. “The North Korean side made the call first, and both sides checked whether the phone and fax were working properly for about 20 minutes,” the daily quoted an unidentified official as saying.

South Korea on Tuesday proposed holding high-level talks with the North on January 9 after Kim Jong-Un said Pyongyang might attend the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and that he was willing to send a delegation to South Korea.

Officials at the United States Department of State in Washington, however, said that they would not consider talks between the two neighbouring countries with seriousness if they did not lead to the denuclearisation of North Korea. Pyongyang, an unidentified State Department spokesperson told Reuters, “might be trying to drive a wedge [between US and South Korea] of some sort”.