Pyeongchang Olympics' Games And Peace In The Koreas


As South Korea prepares for the North's participation in the February 9 to 25 Olympics, Pyongyang called earlier in the day for the meeting on Monday at Tongilgak, a building on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjeom, the ministry said.

Lee Woo-sung, Seoul's chief negotiator, said the North had asked that the art troupe cross the border by foot via Panmunjom, located in the demilitarised zone where a North Korean soldier staged a daring defection to the South in November.

The meeting comes after the two Koreas last week held high-level talks for the first time in two years, agreeing to facilitate the North's participation in the Olympics.

The proposal was made during Tuesday's inter-Korean talks, where North Korea confirmed it would attend the Pyeongchang Olympics following months of tensions over its nuclear weapons programme.

South Korean media reported that Pyongyang planned to dispatch a cheering and performing squads to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics to "as a ground for domestic and foreign propaganda", the KCNA statement said.

After days of touting North-South rapprochement, Pyongyang laid into South Korean President Moon Jae-in for pushing the nuclear issue and what it called a "brown-nosing attitude", just hours ahead of key talks on Olympic cooperation that kicked off Monday.

The Rodong Sinmun article stressed the importance of "easing the acute military tension" between the North and the South, and of "creating a peaceful environment" on the Korean Peninsula to produce a "climate favorable for national reconciliation and reunification".

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The DPRK said the two sides should have more contact and focus on improving their bilateral relationship first before discussing arrangements for reuniting families split by the 1950-1953 Korean War, the spokesman said, citing sources from Panmunjom. The CPRC handles inter-Korean affairs within the North Korean government.

In the talks held in the morning, the two sides discussed "technical matters regarding the schedule, venue and how to set the stage", a statement released by the ministry said.

Eric Walsh, Canada's ambassador to South Korea, said the uneven way punitive measures were being applied meant "there are a lot of gaps".

North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympics, both held in Seoul, amid Cold War rivalry. But North Korea reopened one of the channels last week as signs emerged of improving ties.

The all-female Moranbong Band was formed in 2012 under the orders of the North's leader Kim Jong Un.

"If the Moranbong band members, all formally military officers, come to the South in military uniforms, it could cause discomfort among many South Koreans", Cheong said.