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U.N. chief welcomes reopening of inter-Korean hotline

2018/01/04 06:17

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NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday welcomed the reopening of a communication channel between South and North Korea, saying he hopes such initiatives will help end the nuclear crisis on the peninsula.

North Korea restored the hotline at the shared border village of Panmunjom earlier in the day following South Korea's call for high-level talks next week. The channel had been dormant for nearly two years due to tensions over the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

South Korea proposed the talks in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's speech, in which he expressed an openness to dialogue with the South and sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea's PyeongChang next month.

"It is always a positive development to have dialogue between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea," Farhan Haq, spokesperson for the secretary-general, said in a briefing, using the official names for North and South Korea, respectively.

"In that context, the secretary-general welcomes the reopening of the entire Korean communication channel," he said. "We remain committed to ensuring the implementation of Security Council resolutions on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and hope that enhanced diplomatic initiatives will help to achieve that goal."

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