North, S Korea establish hotline

 
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Seoul April 20 (TNS):  Since a thaw between the two Koreas, the two states on Friday opened a hotline a week before a meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae- in the Demilitarized Zone.

The line links the presidential Blue House in Seoul with the Pyongyang office of the nuclear-armed North’s State Affairs Commission, which Kim chairs. “The historic connection of the hotline between the leaders of the two Koreas has just been established,” said senior Blue House official Youn Kun-young, adding that a test conversation between officials lasted 4 minutes and 19 seconds. It is the latest step in a whirlwind of diplomacy on and around the Korean peninsula, triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South.

Moon and Kim are due to meet next Friday on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone the third inter-Korean summit since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving them in a state of perpetual conflict.

Seoul is pushing for a declaration that the war is over as a prelude to the signed of a treaty, with Moon declaring Thursday it was a goal that “must be pursued”. According to the AFP, US President Donald Trump, who is expected to hold his own much-anticipated summit with Kim later, previously offered his “blessing” for the two Koreas to discuss a treaty.