During the interview, Tong Zhao said that the hotline was cut off about two years ago. Since then, regional tensions have been growing, now to the point that there exists a risk for a serious conflict to break out due to as little as a misunderstanding.
“It is highly important to have a direct channel of communication between North Korea and the rest of the international community. In this sense the hotline can provide a good opportunity for North Korea to actually talk to South Korea. That can promote better mutual understanding,” Zhao said.
According to Tong Zhao the phone line may open a route for both the parties to talk about other issues, apart from the upcoming Olympic Games.
“It could be the first step to much more important progress,” Zhao told Sputnik.
Talking about the current state of relations between the two Koreas, the analyst said that currently it is clear that both the parties want to make quick progress in improving relations and de-escalating the tensions.
He further said that South Korea wants to start talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, while by contrast the United States insists that any negotiation with DPRK has to be based on their denuclearization.
“There is a lot of skepticism within Washington about how sincere North Korea is in its recent diplomatic overture. That thinking is problematic because what it really reveals is the hidden division between the positions of South Korea and the United States regarding how to deal with North Korea,” Zhao said.
"North Korea can talk to anyone they want, but the United States is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have," Haley said.
Seoul, in turn, has planned to hold high-level talks on January 9 in the village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea.
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Pyeongchang and two nearby cities, Gangneung and Jeongseon, in South Korea from February 9 to February 25. The South Korean resort city is located just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border with North Korea.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.