January 14, 2018
NORTH KOREA and South Korea Government officials have officially started talks over the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and de-escalation of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.
BREAKING: North Korea showdown with South begins as rival start talks over Winter Olympics
Earlier Kim Jong-un had blasted the South for praising Donald Trump this weekend, leaving a back cloud lingering over talks.
South Korea are likely demand answers from the hermit state which has avoided concrete answers to direct diplomatic requests, just weeks ahead of the games which will see the world’s best winter sport athletes descending on the region.
It was agreed last week that Pyongyang would be allowed to send a delegation to the international games in the first meeting between the nations in more than two years.
Meeting in the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the neighbouring countries are expected to discuss conditions surrounding participation in the event, including the future of the North’s nuclear weapons programme.
Four arts officials are in attendance from the North led by Kwon Hyok-bong, former head of the North's Unhasu Orchestra, who is now director of the performing arts bureau at the culture ministry.
From the South, Lee Woo-sung, head of the culture and arts policy office at the culture ministry will lead talks, with Korean Symphony Orchestra's CEO Lee Won-choul, its artistic director, Chong Chi-yong, and Han Jong-wook, head of an inter-Korean dialogue division under the unification ministry's Office of Inter-Korean Dialogue, are negotiating.
It is expected that at the Olympics next month there will be a joint women's hockey team but it is unlikely the countries will participate together in other events.
One of the teams Kim Jong-un wants to send south of the border for the games, which take place between February 9 and 15, is a dance troupe.
BREAKING: North Korea showdown with South begins as rival start talks over Winter Olympics
The Korean countries are said to also be discussing inter-Korean family reunions as part of their talks.
In the past when relations have been less tense, inter-Korean family separated by the border have been able to meet up with their loved ones.
However, the hermit state are said to have demanded the return of 12 North Korean restaurant workers who defected to the South in 2016 if the special reunion event is to take place.
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