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South, North Korea set up direct hotline between leaders

Politics 20.04.2018 | 11:30
Photo: Internet
Photo: Internet

SEOUL, 20 April (BelTA –Yonhap) - South Korea and North Korea on Friday set up a telephone line between their leaders, enabling direct dialogue between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean 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 North Korea's state affairs commission, which is headed by Kim.

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

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 North Korean leader.

The Moon-Kim meeting will be held next Friday. It is expected to be followed by the first-ever U.S.-North Korea 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 South Korean side of the joint security area inside the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, making Kim the first North Korean leader to step on South Korean soil since the end of the Korean War.

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