Two Koreas open hotline between leaders, Seoul says

A South Korean soldier stands guard before a United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission meeting hut in the truce village of Panmunjom within the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. (AFP)
Updated 20 April 2018
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Two Koreas open hotline between leaders, Seoul says

SEOUL: The two Koreas opened a hotline between their leaders Friday, Seoul’s presidential office said, a week before a summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone.
The line links the presidential Blue House in Seoul with the Pyongyang office of the nuclear-armed North’s State Affairs Commission, which Kim chairs — one of his most important titles.
“The historic connection of the hotline between the leaders of the two Koreas has just been established,” said senior Blue House official Youn Kun-young, adding that a test conversation between officials lasted 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
It is the latest step in a whirlwind of diplomacy on and around the Korean peninsula, triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South.
Moon and Kim are due to meet on Friday on the southern side of the DMZ, in what will be only the third inter-Korean summit since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving them technically still in a state of conflict.
Seoul is pushing for a declaration that the war is over as a prelude to the signed of a treaty, with Moon declaring Thursday it was a goal that “must be pursued.”
US President Donald Trump, who is expected to hold his own much-anticipated summit with Kim later, previously offered his “blessing” for the two Koreas to discuss a treaty.


Bomb kills Afghan election candidate, wounds seven: officials

Updated 11 min 42 sec ago
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Bomb kills Afghan election candidate, wounds seven: officials

  • Another seven were wounded in the blast
  • The latest attack takes the number of election candidates killed to at least 10, the majority of them murdered in targeted killings

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: A bomb placed under a sofa killed an Afghan election candidate on Wednesday, officials said, as deadly violence escalates ahead of the October 20 parliamentary ballot.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Jabar Qahraman, who was running for the southern province of Helmand, a stronghold for the militant group.
Another seven were wounded in the blast, provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP.
Qahraman "was meeting his supporters in his election campaign office" when a bomb under his sofa detonated, Zhwak said.
"We have arrested several people in connection with the blast," he added.
The latest attack takes the number of election candidates killed to at least 10, the majority of them murdered in targeted killings.
Poll-related violence has increased ahead of the long-delayed vote, with hundreds of people killed or wounded in attacks across the country.