North Korea surprisingly re-opened a pivotal hotline between the hermit kingdom and South Korea on Wednesday, enabling direct communication for the first time in two-years as the two nations ease tensions ahead of this year’s 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The cross-border channel was first introduced in 1971 as a last-ditch effort to avoid yet another armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, but was shut down in recent years as the relationship between North Korea, South Korea, and the United States rapidly deteriorated.
The hotline sits in the “peace village” of Panmunjom, a ghost town that straddles the heavily fortified de-militarized zone between North and South Korea.
News of its restoration comes just days after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un issued a rare statement of good will towards his neighbors south of the border, wishing them success as they prepare to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“The Winter Olympic Games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results,” said Kim.