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U.S., North Korea military officers hold 'friendly' conversations daily, report says

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S., North Korea military officers hold 'friendly' conversations daily, report says
U.S. and North Korean military officers are holding conversations twice a day on a reopened phone line. File Photo by keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- North Korea and U.S. military officers have exchanged phone calls at the Korean demilitarized zone, and conversations included friendly chats about girlfriends and sports, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The calls are taking place after the direct phone line between members of the United Nations Command and the North Koreans were reconnected in July 2018. The conversations at the border are taking place between military personnel located only 125 feet away from each other, according to the report.

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Lt. Cmdr. Daniel McShane, a member of the U.N. Command, and others, speak twice a day with North Korean counterparts. It is a sign of eased tensions that have prevailed despite the collapse of the U.S.-North Korea summit in February and Pyongyang's recent tests of short-range missiles.

After the phone line was disconnected in 2013, the U.N. Command would have to use a megaphone to deliver messages across the border. Since 2018, U.S. military officers like McShane speak to the North Koreans at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Discussions have addressed official objectives like the return of U.S. remains from the Korean War and the removal of landmines.

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A total of 164 messages have been exchanged in the past 10 months and the phone calls have continued despite North Korea's short-range missile launches and the collapsed summit in Hanoi, according to the Journal.

U.S. military officers said they have talked about girlfriends, trade family stories and talk about baseball. One officer said the North Koreans greet them with a "good morning" in English.

Border tensions have receded but the United States and North Korea have yet to come to an agreement on denuclearization.

RELATED Japanese abductees' kin urge PM Abe to enter negotiations with North Korea

In an interview with Fox News over the weekend, President Donald Trump said he asked about "five sites" in North Korea that should be dismantled as part of the agreement.

Kim Jong Un had said he wanted to get rid of one or two sites, but Trump had asked "about the other three sites."

Trump also credited his policy decisions for no North Korea tests during the interview with Fox.

RELATED Report: Kim Jong Un showed interest in summit with Shinzo Abe

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