This undated photo released on Sept 12, 2018, from the ROK's Unification Ministry via Newsis, shows a liaison office building between the ROK and the DPRK in Kaesong, DPRK. (SOUTH KOREA UNIFICATION MINISTRY / NEWSIS VIA AP)
SEOUL – The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) opened a joint liaison office Friday for round-the-clock communications between the two sides.
The ROK will station some 20 officials in the office, while the DPRK will deploy a similar number of officials there
The opening ceremony was held at about 10:50 am local time (0150 GMT) outside the liaison office building in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, according to a pool report from South Korean reporters.
The office was a follow-up measure on the agreement reached by ROK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un after their first summit on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom.
The two leaders agreed to hold their third summit in the DPRK's capital Pyongyang for three days from Sept 18.
"(The joint liaison office) is a symbol of peace created by both the South and the North," the ROK's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said in a congratulatory speech.
Cho said the office will become a round-the-clock communications channel between the two Koreas under a new era of peace.
"It is more meaningful to launch the joint liaison office ahead of the historic summit meeting in Pyongyang between the leaders of the North and the South," said Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) of the DPRK in charge of inter-Korean affairs.
Cho and Ri signed an agreement on how to run the joint liaison office at a meeting room on the third floor of the four-story building. The ROK and DPRK officials would use the second and fourth floors each of the building.
The ROK will station some 20 officials in the office, while the DPRK will deploy a similar number of officials there.
ROK Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung will serve as a co-chief of the office, together with Jon Jong-su, vice chairman of the DPRK's Committee for the CPRF of the DPRK.
In the office, the two sides were expected to discuss issues on inter-Korean cooperation, including ways to modernize and connect roads and railways of the two Koreas, in accordance with a progress in talks for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In addition to it, South Korea and the DPRK would discuss various peninsula issues through the liaison office channel as it is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
HONG KONG NEWS