North Korea is now connected to South Korea with a direct hotline

Key Points
  • A direct phone line was installed and tested between South Korea's Blue House and North Korea's State Affairs Commission on Friday.
  • The move signals a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula ahead of next week's face-to-face summit, the first since 2007, between the leaders of North and South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017.
KCNA | Reuters

South Korean officials no longer have to use a bullhorn to communicate messages to their reclusive neighbor to the North.

A direct phone line was installed and tested Friday, connecting South Korea's Blue House, the official residence and office of President Moon Jae-in, and the North's State Affairs Commission, where leader Kim Jong Un's power is consolidated.

"The call quality was very good and we felt like we got a call from our next-door neighbor," South Korea's director for the Government Situation Room, Youn Kun-young, told reporters after the four-minute call.

The hotline also reportedly features a screen for video chats as well as a fax system.

The move signals a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula ahead of next week's face-to-face summit, the first since 2007, between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea.

Notably, the April 27 meeting is set to take place in the South Korean village of Panmunjom, which would make Kim the first North Korean leader to cross the 38th parallel since the Korean War.

"This direct line between ROK and DPRK senior leaders greatly reduces any chance of miscommunication that might lead to unnecessarily provocative actions," retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a senior defense fellow for Defense Priorities, told CNBC.

Davis, who served as an advisor to the Second Republic of Korea Army during his military career, noted that the meeting between the two Koreas sets a groundwork for a potential meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim.

In this handout image provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline to talk with the North Korean side at the border village of Panmunjom on January 3, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea.
Getty Images

"It is a positive development that Moon and Kim are set to talk in about a week and that a Trump and Kim summit seems likely to follow shortly thereafter. But everyone should temper expectations for a near-term resolution of the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Davis said.

"There is little chance Kim Jong Un will give up his nuclear weapons, which means the best option for the U.S. is to manage and deter North Korea, as we have successfully done for decades," he added.

The widely anticipated meeting between Trump and Kim would be the first between sitting leaders of North Korea and the United States largely due to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions.

Under third-generation North Korean leader Kim, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near the Pacific Ocean U.S. territory of Guam.

Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 85 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, more than his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.

Meanwhile, Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim over Easter weekend to coordinate logistics ahead of the unprecedented meeting.