North and South open first-ever hotline between leaders

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NORD and South Korea installed the first ever telephone line between their leaders on Friday as they prepare for a rare summit next week with the aim of resolving the nuclear stall 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 are planning to make their first phone call sometime before their face to meet next Friday at the border truce village Panmunjom.

South Korean officials say hotline, which will be maintained after the summit, will help facilitate dialogue and reduce misunderstandings in tense times.

"The historical direct telephone line between southern and north leaders was connected shortly ago, South Korean President Youn Kun Young said in a press release.

" The test call went for 4 minutes and 19 seconds from kl. 15.44 with (officials from both sides) talking to each other … The connection was smooth and the voice quality was very good. It was like calling next to, "he said.

Kim, a third-generation dictator, is the chairman of the State Secretary Commission, North Korea's highest decision-making institution, established in 2016 to replace the National Defense Commission inherited from his father. 19659003] The new body includes the country's strongest individuals in state, military and party parties and is considered crucial for Kim to consolidate its power and centralize governance.

The meeting between Kim and the Moon will only be the third summit between rivals since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and proved 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 expected in May or June.

North Korea revived in January one border line between countries after almost two years of radio silence when Korea resumed dialogue after a period of enmity around no nuclear weapons and missile tests.

The revival of the hotline in Panmunjom came days after Kim in a New Year's speech proposed negotiations with the South on easing tensions and the Nordic participation in February's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

North Korea sent hundreds of people to the southern games, including Kim's sister, who expressed his brother's desire to meet with the Moon for a summit.

South Korean officials later met a potential summit between Kim and Trump.

North Korea's abrupt diplomatic outreach comes after a flurry of weapons samples that marked 2017, including the underground detonation of an alleged thermonuclear warhead and t high launches of developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to hit the US mainland.

While South Korean and American officials have said that Kim is likely to try to save his broken economy against major penalties, some analysts see him as negotiating from a position of strength after declaring his nuclear power as complete.

Seoul, who shot between Pyongyang and Washington to set up the meetings, said Kim has expressed real interest in abolishing nuclear weapons.

But North Korea for decades has been pushing a term "denuclearization" that does not resemble the American definition, as it tries to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from the peninsula and the nuclear umbrella that defends South Korea and Japan.

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