Two Koreas set up direct hotline between leaders

Friday, 2018-04-20 15:35:34
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Two Koreas set up direct hotline between leaders (Illustrative Image:Yonhap)
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The Republic of Korea (RoK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on April 20 set up a telephone line between their leaders, enabling direct dialogue between RoK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, who are also set to meet in person next week.

The direct hotline was established between Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the office of DPRK's state affairs commission, which is headed by Kim.

The RoK made the first call to check the line, a Cheong Wa Dae official said, adding that there were no problems detected.

"It was as if we were talking to a neighbor right next door," the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The DPRK later returned the call to check the channel worked both ways. The entire trial conversation lasted 4 minutes and 17 seconds, according to the official.

Cheong Wa Dae officials have said direct communication between the countries' leaders may help further ease tension on the Korean Peninsula, noting that many cross-border conflicts between the two Koreas in the past may have partly been caused by misunderstanding or a lack of communication.

The telephone that links the RoK president with the DPRK leader sits right on Moon's desk, the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

Cheong Wa Dae earlier said Moon and Kim will likely hold a telephone conversation before they meet next week.

The agreement on a new hotline, the first of its kind connecting the leaders of the two Koreas, came early last month when Moon's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong traveled to Pyongyang for an unprecedented meeting with the DPRK leader.

There, Kim agreed to hold a bilateral summit with the RoK president, as well as United States President Donald Trump.

The Moon-Kim meeting will be held on April 27. It is expected to be followed by the first-ever US-DPRK summit in May or early June.

The upcoming inter-Korean summit will be the third of its kind after two summits held in 2000 and 2007. It will be held on the RoK side of the joint security area inside the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, making Kim the first DPRK leader to step on RoK soil since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

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