A line of communication between North Korea and South Korea has been reopened today following two years of dormancy after Kim Jong-un announced his country would be willing to take part at this year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
South Korea's Unification Ministry confirmed it had received a call from the North at 3.30pm local time, reportedly on the orders of Kim.
The two countries have not held official high-level talks since December 2015 following escalating tensions in the region, leading to security fears regarding the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Relations appear to have eased in recent days following Kim's New Year's Day speech, where he revealed North Korea hoped to compete at Pyeongchang 2018.
Kim claimed that North Korea planned to open talks with its neighbours in Seoul shortly to negotiate its team's participation at the Games.
At a press conference yesterday, South Korea's Minister of Unification, Cho Myoung-Gyon, proposed the talks take place on January 9.
It is not clear what was discussed during the brief call today but it is thought contact was initiated following Kim's announcement on Monday (January 1).
Officials in South Korea have claimed North Korea cut off the communications channel shortly after the call.
A spokesperson for South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the reopening of the channel, a special direct hotline in the border village of Panmunjeom, was "very significant".
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Panmunjeom is located in the demilitarised zone between the two countries and is also known as the Joint Security Area.
The location was where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953, which paused the Korean War.
The call came hours after an inflammatory Tweet was posted by United States President Donald Trump, who boasted that he had a bigger nuclear button than Kim.
"I too have a nuclear button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works," Trump tweeted.
Pairs skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik are the only North Korean athletes to have so far qualified for Pyeongchang 2018.
They missed a deadline last month to accept their spot, although they could still be allowed to participate.
It remains possible that other athletes from North Korea could also be given wildcards.
While Kim suggested the country may take part in the Games during his New Year address, the North Korean leader also warned that 2017 was the year that his nation became a fully fledged nuclear power.
He called on South Korea to abandon plans to hold military exercises with the US next February and March.
The Winter Olympics will be held between February 9 and 25.