ANALYSIS: Kim Jong Un pitting South Korea against US by re-establishing talks

The South may have to choose between its ally and further talks with the North.

SEOUL, South Korea -- North and South Korea officially resumed direct contact through a military hotline on Wednesday, but while the move engendered optimism among many South Koreans, there are plenty of people on both sides of the globe questioning the motives of dictator Kim Jong Un.

“I believe it signals a move toward an environment where communication will be possible at all times,” South Korea’s chief presidential press secretary Yoon Young-Chan said.

The move buoyed optimism in Seoul that this hotline could be a meaningful step forward to discuss a long-term peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis, and not just a discussion of sending a delegation to the Olympics.

“They certainly intend to keep close to South Korea for the time being, but if you ask whether this will extend to high-level official talks beyond the Olympics, they are not committed,” Youngshik Bong, professor of North Korean Studies at Yonsei University, pointed out. “It’s a clear strategy to raise the stakes.”

The sudden proposal by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on New Year’s Day to participate in the games was a long-awaited surprise.

South Korean officials had continuously signaled to the North in the past year that the delegation would be welcome without preconditions, according to local media.

“South Korea has always kept a two-track policy on North Korea, putting pressure with the international community and stressing unity at the same time,” said Daniel Pinkston, a veteran North Korea analyst and lecturer in international relations at Troy University, Seoul Campus. “But given that Kim Jong Un and his inner circle of leadership likes sports, I think this is more of a personal interest and preference.”

For skeptics, including the conservative opposition party in South Korea, this offer by the North Korean leader is seen as a charade and a clever tactic, on North Korea's part, to drive a wedge between South Korea and its ally, the United States.

“We see no point in a dialogue that only discusses the Pyeongchang Olympics without talking about the nuclear issue,” said opposition Liberty Korea Party spokesperson Jeong Tae-ok. “North Korea will surely make unreasonable demands, starting from wanting to be recognized as a nuclear state.”

“North Koreans know that if they are talking, it will buy time for them to keep testing and developing weapons,” warned Robert E. Kelly, professor of political science and diplomacy at Pusan National University. “They have a structural interest in extending this olive branch. These are not real concessions.”

ABC News' Hakyung Kate Lee, Yejin Jang, Jaesang Lee and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.