South Korea and North Korea have successfully tested a telephone hotline between their leaders on Friday, NK News reported. This came just a week before a summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in.
The line links the presidential Blue House in Seoul with the Pyongyang office of the North’s State Affairs Commission.
Youn Kun-young, the director for government situation room at the Blue House, said the hotline was tested at 3.41 pm Korea Standard Time (12.11 pm Indian Standard Time) and that officials from the two countries talked to each other for 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
“The connection of a historic hotline between the South and North Korea leader has been completed,” Youn said. “The phone was connected in a smooth manner, and the quality of the call was very good. It feels like calling from the next door.”
The two sides are expected to meet on April 27 on the southern side of the demilitarised zone, which is a heavily armed strip of land that has divided the peninsula since ceasefire was declared in the Korean war in 1953.
The meeting between Kim and Moon would be only the third of its kind, and would make Kim the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the cessation of hostilities between the two countries in 1953. The two sides have reached an agreement on most of the major matters related to the summit, the Yonhap news agency reported. The meeting will be broadcast live.
The summit is expected to set the stage for the North Korean leader’s meeting with United States President Donald Trump, which is likely to be held in May. The director of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, met Kim over the Easter weekend to discuss the proposed meeting. This diplomatic push to bring Pyongyang to the table came months after the tension between the two countries had ratcheted up because of Pyongyang’s efforts to boost its nuclear weapons programme.