Hours after President Trump tweeted another reckless taunting message at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, the regime’s leader ordered that officials make contact with South Korea on Tuesday through a hotline that had been dormant for nearly two years.
The South Korean Unification Ministry said officials from their northern neighbor made a call at 3:30pm local time, the hour at which Kim Jong-un mandated it be made, and remained on the line for 20 minutes. The brief contact was spent verifying that the hotline had no technical issues on either side.
North Korea made a second call hours later.
Could this hotline pave the way for future talks between North Korea and South Korea after a year of escalating hostility? pic.twitter.com/eXlJCbnreN
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 3, 2018
At the moment, it’s unclear whether Trump’s tweet was what prompted these calls, though some analysts say it’s unlikely.
Kim Jong-un is interested in having his country participate in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games set to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea. CNN reported that a ministry spokesperson said there had been no mention of the Olympic games in the conversations; there was also no talk of future communication.
Trump stirred international concerns Tuesday after responding to Kim Jong-un’s recent comment that he has a nuclear button on his desk “at all times” by tweeting, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-In is open to diplomatic talks with North Korea and on Tuesday, he ordered that efforts be made to allow for the northern regime’s athletic teams to compete in the Olympic games.
Though some experts view this communication as a positive sign for diplomacy, others, such as Andrei Lankov of Seoul’s Kookmin University, think it might be an attempt to cause tension between the U.S. and its South Korean ally.