North Korea to open hotline with South about Winter Olympics

First use of hotline since February 2016

North Korean military at Panmunjom.

North Korean military at Panmunjom. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following months of tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the communist country said it would open a hotline with South Korea Wednesday to discuss next month’s Winter Olympics.

Over the past few days, both sides hinted that North Korea should send a delegation to participate in the games, hosted by the city of Pyeongchang in South Korea.

The office of President Moon Jae-In in Seoul welcomed the news of the talks and hoped they could be extended and turned into communication on a regular basis.

According to CNN, the last time contact had been made through the hotline, based in the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), was in February 2016. At the time, tension was high as South Korea suspended operations at the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Initial attempts by South Korea to make calls on the hotline over the past few days in order to discuss the Olympics did not receive a response from the other side, reports said.

The Winter Olympics take place February 9-25 at 13 venues around Pyeongchang, a city about 100 kilometers south of the DMZ and 125 km east of Seoul.