Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | ePaper

Koreas set up 1st hotline between leaders ahead of summit

  • Print


An official from South Korean President Blue House talks on the phone with North Korea side for a hotline test at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Friday

AP, Seoul :
North and South Korea installed the first-ever telephone hotline between their leaders Friday as they prepare for a rare summit next week aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.
South Korea's presidential office said a successful test call was conducted on the hotline between Seoul's presidential Blue House and Pyongyang's powerful State Affairs Commission.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plan to make their first telephone conversation sometime before their face-to-face meeting next Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
South Korean officials say the hotline, which will be maintained after the summit, will help facilitate dialogue and reduce misunderstanding during times of tension.
"The historic direct telephone line between the leaders of the South and North was connected a short while ago," South Korean presidential official Youn Kun Young said in a news briefing.
"The test call went on for 4 minutes and 19 seconds starting at 3:41 p.m. with (officials from) both sides speaking to each other ... The connection was smooth and the voice quality was very good. It was like calling next door," he said.
Kim, a third-generation dictator, is the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, North Korea's supreme decision-making institution that was created in 2016 to replace the National Defense Commission he inherited from his father. The new body includes the country's most powerful individuals in state, military and party affairs and is seen as crucial for Kim to consolidate his power and centralize governance.
The meeting between Kim and Moon will only be the third summit between the rivals since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and could prove to be significant in the global diplomatic push to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. A separate summit between Kim and President Donald Trump is anticipated in May or June.
North Korea in January reopened a border hotline between the countries after nearly two years of radio silence as the Koreas resumed dialogue following a period of animosity surrounding the North's nuclear weapons and missile tests. The revival of the hotline at Panmunjom came days after Kim in a New Year's speech proposed negotiations with the South on easing tensions and the North's participation in February's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
North Korea sent hundreds of people to the southern games, including Kim's sister, who expressed her brother's desire to meet with Moon for a summit. South Korean officials later brokered a potential summit between Kim and Trump.
North Korea's abrupt diplomatic outreach comes after a flurry of weapons tests that marked 2017, including the underground detonation of an alleged thermonuclear warhead and three launches of developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to strike the U.S. mainland.

More News For this Category

May tries to save Brexit plan ahead of EU summit

May tries to save Brexit plan ahead of EU summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May will write to EU President Donald Tusk with a plan for delaying Brexit beyond March 29, her spokesman said Tuesday, admitting the parliamentary deadlock had

Trump reaffirms US considering 'all options' to bring down Venezuela's President Maduro

Trump reaffirms US considering 'all options' to bring down Venezuela's President Maduro

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday reaffirmed that "all options" are being considered in his drive to bring down Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro."All options are on the table," he

Abel Prize for maths awarded to woman for first time

Abel Prize for maths awarded to woman for first time

AFP, Oslo : Women took another step forward in the still male-dominated world of science Tuesday, as American Karen Uhlenbeck won the Abel Prize in mathematics for her work on partial

"Democracy in UK all but dead": Trump Jr slams PM May over Brexit

US President Donald Trump's eldest son rebuked UK Prime Minister Theresa May over her faltering Brexit tactics Tuesday, claiming she had unnecessarily prolonged Britain's EU withdrawal by ignoring his father's

Allahu Akbar were Lion Air co-pilot's last words before crash: Report

Allahu Akbar were Lion Air co-pilot's last words before crash: Report

Reuters, Jakarta/Singapore :The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of

News In Brief

Nawaz Sharif's bail plea postponed till March 26PTI, Islamabad Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday postponed the verdict of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif"s application seeking bail on medical grounds

New Zealanders give up guns after massacre, but some face blowback

New Zealanders give up guns after massacre, but some face blowback

AFP, Christchurch :New Zealanders have begun handing in weapons in response to government appeals following the Christchurch massacre, but the gesture has put some squarely in the social media firing

UN experts urge Israel to rein in security forces

UN experts urge Israel to rein in security forces

Reuters, Geneva : U.N. war crimes investigators called on Israel on Monday to stop its snipers using lethal force against protesters on the border with Gaza, as the anniversary approached of

US-backed forces take control of IS Syria encampment

US-backed forces take control of IS Syria encampment

AP, Syria :U.S.-backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group announced Tuesday they have taken control over an encampment in an eastern Syrian village where IS militants have been besieged

Brazilian physicist wins $1.4 million Templeton Prize

Brazilian physicist wins $1.4 million Templeton Prize

Reuters, New Hampshire :Brazilian physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser has been awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize, worth $1.4 million, for his work blending science and spirituality.Gleiser, 60, is the first