Koreas agree to hold Olympics talks on Wednesday, Seoul says

Published 15/01/2018 in World

Koreas agree to hold Olympics talks on Wednesday, Seoul says

SEOUL (Reuters) – North and South Korea agreed to hold working talks on Wednesday on the North sending athletes to next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, Seoul’s unification ministry said, as months-long tensions over the North’s weapons programs ease.

The North asked for the meeting to be held at Peace House on the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, the ministry said in a statement.

Officials from the two Koreas, technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, met on Monday to discuss North Korea sending a performance art group to the Olympics to be held in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang.

North Korea is pursuing its missile and nuclear programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council and other sanctions and regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its two key Asian allies, South Korea and Japan.

In bellicose exchanges in recent weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump has derided the North Korean leader as a ”maniac“ and referred to him as ”little rocket man“. Kim has responded by calling the U.S. president a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard”.

But fears of war have eased after the first round of intra-Korean talks in more than two years last week, which Trump has welcomed.

North Korea is planning to send a large delegation to the Olympics in addition to the athletes and performance group. South Korea is also seeking to form a united women’s ice hockey team with the North, according to media reports.

North and South Korea will also hold talks hosted by the International Olympics Committee, separate from the inter-Korean talks, on Saturday.

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