North-South hotline reopens on Korean peninsula

During the talks, the two presidents agreed not to carry out the springtime South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises, codenamed "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle", during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Trump tweeted on Thursday, "Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn't firm, strong and willing to commit our total "might" against the North".

Officials in Seoul announced Friday morning that the Kim Jong Un regime had agreed to meet their delegation in the "truce village" talk of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone, on Tuesday as they discuss possible cooperation for the Winter Olympics next month.

The agreement to delay the South Korea-U.S. war games came amid rising signs of a thaw between the two Koreas, caused by the peace overture which Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), made in his New Year's Day address.

Tensions over North Korea's nuclear program had threatened to hang over the Games in Pyeongchang, a city about 80km from the border dividing the Korean Peninsula.

As we previously reported, the White House says the USA and South Korea want to "de-conflict the Olympics" so the two countries can focus on security for the games.

Beyond that it's considering forming a single Korea Olympics team, entering the opening and closing ceremonies together or forming a single Korea cheering squad, the report said, citing a roadmap for negotiations from South Korea's presidential office.

He said future talks involving the United States could allow North Korea to "chart a way for themselves to a more secure future, a more prosperous future", and added: "They do know how to reach us if and when they are ready to engage with us as well". Commercial satellite imagery suggested that North Korea was preparing for a rocket engine test at the Sohae launch facility in the country's northeast, the website 38 North reported Friday. The communications channel between the two Koreas had been cut off for the past two years.

South Korea expects more talks over the weekend with North Korea via a hotline reopened earlier this week, said Baik, the Unification Ministry spokesman.

Trump expressed his hope that the inter-Korean dialogue would bring a good outcome, telling Moon that the United States supports President Moon 100 percent.

If the president were to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him.

  • Joey Payne