Hotline between leaders of ROK, DPRK likely to be set up this week



The hotline of direct dialogue between the leaders of South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is likely to be set up later this week, a senior Blue House official said Tuesday.

Im Jong-seok, chief of staff for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told a press briefing that the hotline between Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un is forecast to be installed around Friday as working-level talks were already held twice on that issue.

Im said the first Moon-Kim conversation via the telephone line is expected to be made possible around Friday, but he noted that the exact date had yet to be decided.

Moon and Kim agreed to hold their first face-to-face meeting on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom. They decided to establish a direct hotline between them and have the first telephone talks before the summit is held.

If necessary, Im said, the possibility is always open for Chung Eui-yong, chief of the National Security Office of the Blue House, or Suh Hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), to visit Pyongyang before the inter-Korean summit.

As special emissaries for President Moon, Chung and Suh met with the DPRK leader in Pyongyang in early March when the two Koreas agreed to hold the third-ever inter-Korean summit in late April.

Im said communication channels with the DPRK through the NIS, South Korea's intelligence agency, has been always open smoothly.

He added many issues would be discussed between the two sides during the second round of working-level talks for security, protocol and media coverage for the Moon-Kim summit.

The working-level dialogue is set to be held Wednesday in Panmunjom.