The DPRK and the Republic of Korea for the first time since 2015 talked on the phone. The parties are preparing to meet in six days to discuss the participation of North Korean athletes in the Winter Olympics. The first steps to improve relations between the two countries make the US nervous. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump began to measure, who has a nuclear button more.
Representatives of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea for the first time from 2015 talked on the phone. The conversation took place on the restored hotline in Panmunjom. This is a special telephone connection in the demilitarized zone, RIA "Novosti" reports with reference to the message of the representative of the Ministry of South Korea.
Call from the DPRK arrived in 15.30 local time (9.30 Moscow time). What exactly the representatives of the two sides talked about, is not reported. Perhaps the call was preliminary, to check the telephone connection. Reuters reports that the second conversation can take place in the next few hours. And it will already have to discuss a possible bilateral meeting in the border village of Panmunjom. Seoul hopes that this channel of communication will allow "to conduct uninterrupted inter-Korean talks 9 January."
The day before the proposal to organize such a meeting was made by the head of the South Korean Ministry for the Unification of Cho Mong Gyun. North Korea after that remained silent for almost a day, and then a statement was made about the opening of the hotline.
The initiator of the warming of relations was the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un, who in his half-hour New Year's greetings expressed the desire of the DPRK to participate in the Olympics in Pyeongchang and the readiness to start negotiations with Seoul.
Kim Jong-Yin made it clear that relations between North and South Korea could improve this year. "2018 year is an important year for both the North and the South. The North celebrates the 70 anniversary of its founding, and the South holds the Winter Olympic Games, "Kim Jong-un said, suggesting that the relations between the North and the South be defrozen. "Winter Games, which will be held in South Korea, will be a good event for the country," he said. "The participation of North Korea in the Olympics will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the unity of the people, and we wish the Games of Success," Kim Jong-un assured. He promised to consider the issue of sending a delegation to the Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.
These words are perceived as a marked change in tone after a year of aggressive rhetoric. Perhaps this is due to the fact that South Korean President Mun Zhe Ying last month proposed to postpone annual joint military exercises with US troops until the end of the Games. The North usually condemns any such maneuvers, considering them a rehearsal of the war.
Experts note that Pyongyang is seriously concerned about Washington's attempts to isolate the DPRK with the support of South Korea, the BBC reports.
Such a warming of relations between the DPRK and South Korea made the US nervous.
The North Korean leader in his New Year's address to the people made a number of statements for Washington. He warned that the desire to participate in the Olympics does not at all mean that Pyongyang is going to abandon the national nuclear forces. Last year, North Korea was severely criticized and sanctioned because of its nuclear program and missile tests. Pyongyang conducted six underground nuclear tests, demonstrating that an increasingly powerful missile weapon is being created in North Korea.
Kim Jong-un in the New Year's address assured that "the nuclear button is constantly on his desk" to protect national interests. According to him, this is not a threat to the US, but only a statement of fact. However, Washington took this as a threat.
President of the United States Donald Trump could not miss this and suggested to the North Korean people to inform the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-no that the White House head also has a nuclear button, but it is "much more".
"Maybe one of his exhausted and starving regime can explain to him that I also have a nuclear button, but it is much bigger, stronger than him,
and my button works! "- wrote the American leader in his Twitter.
The nuclear strike by Pyongyang in the United States is not so obvious. But in theory the other is possible - also a nuclear and equally destructive blow, after which the US will not be able to recover for a long time. The newspaper VZGLYAD earlier discussed how a nuclear war between the United States and the DPRK could unfold.
In general, the US was skeptical of the possible talks between Seoul and Pyongyang. The US believes that Kim Jong-un is trying to "drive a wedge" between South Korea and the United States, but Washington will not allow this, US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said at a briefing a few hours before the resumption of the hotline of the two sides.
"We are close allies with South Korea. If they want to start negotiations with the DPRK, then this is definitely their choice. Our policy has not changed, we are working towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, "she said.
Asked if the US can play any role in these negotiations, Naouert said she "highly doubts" this. According to her, "this is normal" if Seoul and Pyongyang want to start negotiations, but
The US does not believe that "Kim Jong-un is honest and can be trusted", that he sincerely wants to start negotiations.
As for the participation in the Olympics of North Korean athletes, this should be discussed at the upcoming meeting of 9 January. Meanwhile, the only athletes from North Korea who qualify for the Games are skaters Tae Oak Riom and Yu Sik Kim.
North Korea missed the official deadline to confirm its participation, but its athletes can still take part in the competitions if they receive an invitation from the International Olympic Committee. North Korea is not regularly involved in the Olympic Games. Games in the US Salt Lake City in 2002, they, for example, missed, as well as the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 year.