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Inter-Korean liaison office opens today, allowing 24-hour contact between two Koreas Updated: 2018-09-14 10:03:06 KST

The long-awaited inter-Korean liaison office opens today at North Korea's southern border city of Kaesong.
It was originally planned to open last month, but was delayed due to a diplomatic deadlock with the U.S.
For more on this, let's turn to our Park Hee-jun at Seoul’s Unification Ministry.
Hee-jun, so what does the opening of the liaison office mean for the two Koreas?

The liaison office is a 24-hour, all-year-round communication channel between South and North Korea, which aims to boost inter-Korean exchanges.
It's the first time since the two Koreas were divided that such a channel is being opened.
Take a listen.

"The inter-Korean liaison office has a 24-hour, 365-day running system. Now the two sides will be able to closely discuss inter-Korean relations, denuclearization, and joint projects."

An opening ceremony was held at the complex this morning.
From the South, government officials and a fair number of experts and businesspeople attended.
And the office begins operating right after the ceremony, marking the start of a permanent contact channel for the two Koreas, a fundamental step for stabilizing inter-Korean ties.

To help you better understand the liaison office
The two Koreas have been using the Panmunjom channel.
But it has its limits because of the distance and because it didn't operate around the clock.
The liaison office in Kaesong corrects those issues, and what's more, the office can send messages directly to South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A regular meeting will be held every week to discuss urgent issues relevant to the two Koreas, including economic cooperation.
The facility will be supervised by the vice minister of Seoul's Unification Ministry, Chun hae-sung.
And we hear from the press pool that the North's representative is Jon Jong Su, Vice Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country.
Around 20 officers from each side will reside at the office, working 9 to 5 shifts during the weekdays, as well as overnight shifts, and weekend duty.

And the Unification Ministry says, that depending on the level of improvement in relations, South and North Korea could consider setting up offices in each other's capitals.

The liaison office was something agreed in the Panmunjom Declaration, and it will open a new chapter in inter-Korean relations and help establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
This has been Park Hee-jun from the Unification Ministry.
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