Monday, 28 May, 2018

North Korea to send delegation for 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

Sammy Stanley | 10 January, 2018, 09:04

North Korea is now to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.

South Korea's government has been eager to see North Korean athletes participating in next month's Olympics, partly because it's been promoting the event as the "peace games" but also to minimize the chances of Pyongyang doing something provocative to ruin Seoul's party.

At the talks, North Korea agreed to send to the Olympics a delegation of high-ranking officials, athletes, a cheering squad, a Taekwondo demonstration team, and a number of journalists.

During the 2002 World Cup, jointly held in South Korea and Japan, a North Korean warship opened fire on a South Korean patrol boat, leaving six soldiers dead.

The two countries, which are still technically at war, said they will seek to resolve issues via dialogue and negotiations, according to the statement released by South Korea's Unification Ministry.

During the South-North Korea talks, Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the CPRC, insisted that North Korea's weapons do not serve as a threat to their "compatriots" in the South, echoing narrative of unification seen in the North Korean media recently,"All of our state-of-the-art strategic weapons like atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles are targeting the United States, not our compatriots".

Marcotte, who also coaches a team from South Korea, first spoke with Ryom and Kim early a year ago at the Asian Winter Games in Japan, congratulating them on their performance and improvement.

North and South Korea agreed to hold various negotiations to improve relations, the joint document said.

The United States has almost 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea.

During an earlier era of inter-Korean detente, athletes from the North and South paraded together at worldwide sports events such as the Olympics and fielded a unified Korean team.

Japanese astronaut tweets his concern after growing 9cm in space
His vision later improved to 20/50 and remained there, even years later. Earth's magnetic field helps protect humans from the sun's radiation.

Ri read what he called a joint statement after the talks, under which the two Koreas agreed to "actively co-operate" in the Olympics to "enhance the prestige of the Korean people".

In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik of North Korea compete during the pairs free program at the Figure Skating-ISU Challenger Series in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Once inside, Ri was joined by his South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. He said the two Koreas would continue high-level talks but didn't say when the next meeting would take place.

Tuesday's talks were the first between the two Koreas since 2015 and were held at the Peace House on the South Korean side of Panmunjom truce village.

He also welcomed North Korea's decision to send a delegation to the Olympics and said he hoped for the resumption of dialogue leading to denuclearisation.

North Korea was expected to demand rewards in return for South Korea's proposal of family reunions, such as a halt to South Korean propaganda broadcasts and a scaling back or halting of military drills with the US, observers say. But the joint statement didn't mention such reunions. South Korea may also allow North Korean citizens to visit the games.

Evans Revere, a former senior US diplomat for East Asia, said that by engaging Seoul, North Korea was clearly seeking to weaken the US-South Korean alliance and it was important that Seoul had raised the nuclear issue to show it was not just a US-North Korea matter.

Tuesday's meeting followed a year of ramped-up North Korean missile test launches, some of them over Japanese territory, and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, which prompted a US-led campaign to toughen United Nations sanctions.

It was not clear whether the North had sought to discuss a permanent end to large-scale annual military drills between Seoul and Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed hope for some progress from the talks and said he was open to talking with Kim himself. But North Korea has yet to accept Seoul's proposal to hold Red Cross talks for the reunions. The US is, however, one of South Korea's strongest allies and trade partners.

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