SEOUL, South Korea - Ahead of the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade, officials have announced that North and South Korea have set up a telephone hotline between their two leaders.
This is the first time such a direct line of communication has been set up and Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In, who are due to meet later this month, now have the option of speaking directly before the meeting.
According to officials from both sides, a successful test call was conducted through the hotline established between the South's presidential Blue House and the North's state affairs commission, which is headed by Kim Jong Un.
Speaking to local media after the call that lasted 4 minutes 17 seconds, a South Korean official said, “It was as if we were talking to a neighbour right next door.”
Youn Kun-young, a senior Moon aide, told journalists, “The historic direct telephone line between the leaders of the South and North was connected a short while ago. The test call went on for 4 minutes and 19 seconds starting at 3.41pm with both sides speaking to each other. The connection was smooth and the voice quality was very good. It was like calling next door.”
The call through the newly established hotline came immediately after Blue House officials stated that Moon and Kim were likely to hold a telephone conversation before their face-to-face meeting.
Last month, both sides agreed to set up the phone link when Moon's top security adviser travelled to Pyongyang for an unprecedented meeting with Kim, who had then agreed to hold the inter-Korean summit.
Official data shows that after summits previously held in 2000 and 2007, this will be the third inter-Korean summit between both countries.
Since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, with neither side able to claim an outright victory the two states remain technically at war.
The inter-Korean summit also comes a month before Kim Jong Un is expected to hold a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.