01/03/2018, 09.06
KOREA

Pyongyang reopens telephone line with Seoul

The "red line" closed since February 2016. It allows a direct link between the two leaders of the North and the South and dialogue between the military leaders. Kim Jong-un "likes" openings of Moon Jae-in. Donald Trump skeptical.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) – As of today to 3pm (local time), Pyongyang has decided to reopen a line of communication with the South. The telephone line allows direct dialogue between the two leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, and with military leaders. It was interrupted in February 2016 by the North in protest of the South’s closure of the shared Kaesong industrial complex.

The announcement of the red line’s reopening comes one day after Seoul’s proposal of the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue on the possible participation of the North at the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics.

The announcement was made on TV by Ri Son-gwon, head of the North Korean office for relations with the South. Ri said “by upholding a decision by the leadership, we will make close contact with South Korea in a sincere and faithful manner . We will discuss working-level issues over our potential dispatch of the delegation".

However, Ri did not say anything about the Moon Jae-in offer to have high-level dialogue as early as next week, on 9 January, in Panmunjom, the village on the border between the two Koreas.

In any case, according to Ri, Kim Jong-un "greatly appreciated and welcomed" Moon's peace offer. He added that "the leader [Kim] stressed that whether inter-Korean ties can be improved totally depends on North and South Korea ".

Throughout 2017, North Korea has been hit by an increase in sanctions and pressure from the international community due to its military nuclear program. The United States, allies of Seoul, have also threatened military solutions against the threats of Pyongyang, which now boasts of being able to hit anywhere in the US.

President Donald Trump has stated that Kim's openings (whom he calls in a derogatory fashion "Rocket Man") could be "good news", even if he remains skeptical.Even more negative, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who defines Kim's moves for an inter-Korean dialogue, as simple "patchwork".

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