Closed in February of 2016 in response to rising tensions, the direct hotline between North and South Korea was reopened today, offering the first such line of direct communication in nearly two years.

The reopening of the hotline is extremely significant, particularly coming amid offers of bilateral negotiations between the two nations. This suggests North Korea is warming to diplomatic overtures from South Korea.

The near term focus of the hotline, officials say, is to discuss the possibility of North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics, held next month in South Korea. This could serve as a practical test case for closer ties between the two nations, leading to serious talks on all sorts of matters of import.

Which isn’t sitting well with the US. Though some State Department officials have conceded that it’s really not for the US to prevent two other nations from talking to one another, other Trump Administration officials have said they oppose any talks that don’t require North Korea to disarm unilaterally as a precondition.

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