North Korea reopens South Korea hotline for first time in years

A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline in Panmunjom.
A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline in Panmunjom. Photo credit: Getty

Almost two years after the hotline between North Korea and South Korea was disabled, it's been reopened ahead of the Winter Olympic Games.

Kim Jong-un ordered the dialogue be opened for a 20-minute conversation, which checked over "technical issues of the communication line", a statement from South Korea's Unification Ministry says.

North Korea phoned for a second time later in the day on the Panmunjom hotline, suggesting business be concluded for the day.

While there were no talks of the Olympics during the calls, during his New Year's Day speech Kim Jong-un said attending the Games in the South next month would show "unity of the people".

He also said preparations should begin "as soon as possible".

South Korea has reportedly welcomed that suggestion.

It's the first time the hotline has been opened since February 2016, CNN reports.

South Korea reportedly continued to try and make contact "twice a day", a spokeswoman for the Unification Ministry told CNN on Tuesday, but until now their neighbouring country had not picked up.

Newshub.