North and South Korea installed a telephone hotline between their leaders Friday as they prepare for a rare summit next week aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.
France24 says South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plan to make their first telephone conversation sometime before their face-to-face meeting next Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
South Korean officials say the hotline, which will be maintained after the summit, will help facilitate dialogue and reduce misunderstanding during times of tension.
“The historic direct telephone line between the leaders of the South and North has been connected a short while ago,” South Korean presidential official Youn Kun Young said in a news briefing.
“The test call went on for 4 minutes and 19 seconds starting at 3:41 p.m. with (officials from) both sides speaking to each other … The connection was smooth and the voice quality was very good. It was like calling the next door,” he said.
The meeting between Kim and Moon will only be the third summit between the rivals since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and could prove 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 anticipated in May or June.