North Korea seeks further Olympic talks

North Korea South Korea International Olympic Committee IOC Winter Olympics sports news Indian Express

Kwon Hyok-bong, North Korean director of the culture ministry's art performance bureau (right), Moranbong band leader Hyon Song-wol (center), and South Korean chief delegate Lee Woo Sung enter the meeting room of the Tongilgak (Unification Pavilion) on the North Korean side of Panmunjeom on January 15 to discuss North Korean performance artist groups participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

North Korean media has called for a complete halt of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States.

The two Koreas are set to hold talks with the International Olympics Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday over the number of the North's athletes.

Seoul has been pushing for Pyongyang's involvement in the Olympics and last week's talks, the first in more than two years, appears to have eased tensions between the two neighbours.

The agreement on the musical group came at the latest meeting aimed at ensuring North Korea's participation at the "peace games" in Pyeongchang next month and also aimed at lowering tensions on the peninsula. Knowing Moon's desire, the North could try to demand that South Korea cancel joint military drills with the exchange for Pyongyang's participation in the Olympics, said Hong Kwan-hee, a professor at Korea University in Seoul. Pundits say that the two sides could discuss the details of the North Korean team's visit, their travel route, accommodation, and on the launching of a unified Korean team.

The concerts, if they go ahead, would mark the first time that a North Korean artistic troupe has performed in the capitalist South since 2002, during a previous rare period of rapprochement.

North Korea said the art troupe will comprise 80 orchestra members and 60 members who sing and dance.

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Liberal President Moon Jae-in wants to revive ties with North Korea that froze under almost a decade of conservative rule in the South.

South Korea agreed to provide the performance venue and necessary facilities, while North Korea agreed to send its advance team for the performance as rapidly as possible. "Frankly, I do not know what they meant by to "get prepared" since we do not have any channels to talk to the North Korean team", the official said.

The two Koreas' delegates marched together under the Korean unification flag during opening ceremony of 2006 Torino Winter Olympics Games.

10 said Trump deserved "big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks", adding that the ongoing dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang "could be a resulting work of the US -led sanctions and pressure".

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un have also conducted an increasingly bitter feud, with the US leader dubbing Mr Kim "Rocket Man" and both boasting about their nuclear capabilities.

Leader Kim Jong-un previously moved a step closer to easing fierce relations with rival countries by agreeing to participate in the games in Seoul.

A spokesman for Seoul's unification ministry played down the editorial, attributing it to "internal reasons and circumstances".

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