After North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suddenly ordered on Wednesday that the hotline with the South be reopened, a call came in from Pyongyang at 3:30 PM (local time). Today’s call was the first time in two years that the direct communication line has been used.
South Korean official tests the cross-border hotline with North Korea Photo Credit: EPA-EFE
On Wednesday, Pyongyang called Seoul on the direct communication line between the Koreas, which had been dormant for almost two years, CNN has reported. The call came through at 3:30 PM (local time) after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un had ordered that the hotline be reopened earlier today.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement that a second call may come through from North Korea later today, CNN added. Kim’s surprising order to reopen the line came a day after South Korea’s unification minister offered to hold talks with Pyongyang on January 9 ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The leader of the pariah state said earlier this week that his country is “considering the possibility” of participating in the upcoming games, which will be held in the South.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed North Korea’s appeasing gesture. If carried out, the talks would be the first open dialogue between the two countries since December 2015.
Despite the hopeful tone of Kim’s address, the dictator remained faithful to his aggressive rhetoric about his country’s nuclear agenda. During his speech, Kim said that North Korea’s capabilities enable it to reach the entire US mainland and stressed that he does not make idle threats. However, the leader added that his country would resort to nuclear warfare only if it feels threatened.