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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World
Pyongyang to reopen inter-Korean hotline
    2018-January-4  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

NORTH KOREA said yesterday it will reopen a hotline with the South to discuss attending the Winter Olympics, forging ahead with peace overtures despite taunts from U.S. President Donald Trump who said he has a “much bigger” nuclear button than Kim Jong Un.

The hotline, which was cut by the North in 2016, is to be restored after Seoul proposed high-level talks in response to an olive branch from the North’s leader ahead of next month’s PyeongChang Games.

China yesterday welcomed and expressed support for efforts by the two sides to improve relations.

“China welcomes and supports the two sides to improve ties, ease tensions and make concrete efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a daily press briefing in Beijing.

Geng said China is willing to play a positive and constructive role to push the Korean Peninsula issue back to the track of a peaceful settlement through talks and negotiation.

Kim’s overtures to the South marked a rare softening in tone, as tensions over its banned weapons program have surged in recent months following a flurry of missile launches and its most powerful nuclear test yet.

Seoul responded with an offer to hold talks Jan. 9 — the first since 2015 — to discuss “matters of mutual interest” including Kim’s suggestion that his nation could participate in the Olympics.

But Kim’s New Year address also included a warning to the U.S. that he has a “nuclear button” on his table, prompting a furious response from President Trump via Twitter.

“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!” he said.

Trump’s remarks came as his ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley dismissed Seoul’s offer to hold talks, calling it a “band-aid.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Heather Nauert also warned that Kim “may be trying to drive a wedge of some sort between the two nations — between our nation and the Republic of Korea.”

But the rapprochement seemed to be moving ahead yesterday, with Kim welcoming Seoul’s support for his overtures, according to Ri Son Gwon, the head of North Korea’s agency handling inter-Korean affairs.

The two countries, which are divided by a Demilitarized Zone since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, last held high-level talks in 2015 to try to ease tensions.

The hotline, located in the truce village of Panmunjom, remained operational until February 2016, with operators from both countries checking it twice a day.

The channel was shut down when relations deteriorated over a dispute involving the Kaesong industrial complex, which was jointly operated by both countries.

Seoul welcomed Pyongyang’s decision to reopen the hotline as “very significant,” with chief presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan saying “it creates an environment where communication will be possible at all times.” (SD-Agencies)

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