North and South Korea test hotline after Trump taunts Kim Jong Un

North and South Korea test hotline after Trump taunts Kim Jong Un
A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline to talk with the North Korean side on Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea. North Korean state-run media has reported that an inter-Korean communication line was reopened in response to South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon proposing holding high-level talks with North Korea ahead of Winter Olympics on Feb. 9. (South Korean Unification Ministry handout image via Getty Images)

North Korea reopened a communication hotline with South Korea on Wednesday, just hours after President Donald Trump taunted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Twitter.

What happened?

According to Reuters, North Korea shut down the border phone hotline between the two countries in February 2016 in retaliation against the closing of a border factory town that the two countries operated jointly.

The Hermit Kingdom reopened the hotline Wednesday after South Korea proposed talks over North Korea’s nuclear program and the upcoming Winter Olympics in response to Kim’s indication that he wanted to send a delegation to the games, which will take place in Pyeongchang.

Reuters reported that Kim ordered the reopening of the hotline at the truce village of Panmunjom, and South Korean officials at the border later received a call from the North.

“We will try to keep close communications with the South Korean side from sincere stand [sic] and honest attitude, true to the intention of our supreme leadership, and deal with the practical matters related to the dispatch of our delegation,” the state-run KCNA news agency quoted Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, as saying, according to Reuters.

According to the BBC, a spokesman for South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said the restoration of the hotline was “very significant.”

“It creates an environment where communication will be possible at all times,” he said.

The BBC noted that the North did not answer subsequent calls from the South after the initial call.

What did Trump say?

The phone call between the two nations came as Trump and Kim traded bellicose taunts. North Korea often threatens to attack the United States, as well as South Korea and Japan.

According to Bloomberg, the North Korean dictator said in a New Year’s address that “it’s reality, not a threat, that the nuclear button is always on my desk” and that he could use it to attack the United States.

In response to Kim, Trump tweeted: “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 and more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”