Koreas revive contact ahead of Winter Olympics

A South Korean official checks out a cross-border hotline at the liaison office in the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea on Jan 3, 2018.
A South Korean official checks out a cross-border hotline at the liaison office in the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea on Jan 3, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL • Pyongyang contacted the authorities in Seoul over a hotline for the first time in about two years, paving the way for a thaw during next month's Winter Olympics, which Pyongyang has offered to take part in.

Officials from both countries spoke several times yesterday to conduct technical checks before agreeing to stop for the day, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

Tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme had threatened to hang over the Games in Pyeongchang, a city about 80km from the border dividing the Korean peninsula.

South Korean President Moon Jae In has proposed holding talks on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom, which would be the first formal gathering between the two sides since 2015. But the North has yet to respond.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Koreas revive contact ahead of Winter Olympics'. Print Edition | Subscribe