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South Korea proposes talks on North’s participation in winter Olympics

Following the first inter-Korean talks this week in more than two years, the two sides had agreed to hold talks on 20 January, hosted by the International Olympic Committee.

North Korea, on 20 January, pledged to send a large delegation to February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Picture: @pyeongchang2018/Twitter.

SEOUL - South Korea has proposed working-level talks with North Korea on the latter’s participation in the Winter Olympics set for February, the South’s unification ministry said on Friday.

It suggested a date of 15 January for a meeting with the South’s three-member delegation led by vice minister Chun Hae-sung, to discuss the North’s participation, the ministry said in a statement.

Following the first inter-Korean talks this week in more than two years, the two sides had agreed to hold talks on 20 January, hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The South also delivered a document presenting its position regarding the North’s participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics and matters on cultural events,” the ministry added.

Earlier, a senior Seoul official said the South made a proposal to the North for both to form a united women’s ice hockey team to participate in the Winter Olympics.

WATCH: North Korea delegates to attend Winter Olympics in South Korea

DIALOGUE

North and South Korea on Tuesday agreed on negotiations to resolve problems and military talks aimed at averting accidental conflict, after their first official dialogue in more than two years, as Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme fuels tension.

South Korea asked its neighbour to halt hostile acts that stoke tension on the peninsula, and in return, the North agreed that peace should be guaranteed in the region, the South’s unification ministry said in a separate statement.

The talks had been closely watched by world leaders keen for any sign of a reduction in tension, as fears grow over the North’s missile launches and development of nuclear weapons, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Seoul said it was prepared to lift some sanctions temporarily so North Korean officials could visit the South for the Games. The North said its delegation would comprise athletes, high-ranking officials, a cheering squad, art performers as well as reporters and spectators.

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