North Korea accepts Olympics talks offer, says South

Olympic logo PyeongchangImage copyright
Getty Images

North Korea has accepted an offer to attend high-level talks next week, South Korean officials have said.

The meeting, on 9 January, will focus on finding a way for North Korean athletes to attend the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in February.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said this week that sending a delegation to the Games would be “a good opportunity to show unity of the people”.

The meeting is expected to be held at Panmunjom, on the border.

The so-called peace village, in the heavily guarded demilitarised zone (DMZ), is where the two sides have historically held talks.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has previously said he sees the Winter Olympics as a “groundbreaking chance” to improve relations between the Koreas, two countries still technically at war.

Earlier this week, in a small sign of progress, North Korea restored a telephone hotline at their mutual border, to enable the first contact about talks to be made.

However, the South Korean Unification Ministry official told AFP that the acceptance of the invitation to talks was sent by fax on Friday morning.

The tentative moves towards the Olympic appearance come after months of escalating rhetoric from North Korea and the US.

The leaders of both countries have each threatened the other with nuclear annihilation.

North Korea has also infuriated the world with its repeated nuclear tests and missile launches, which have resulted in tightened international sanctions.

As part of efforts to smooth the path to the Olympics, the US has agreed to a request from South Korea to suspend joint military operations, scheduled to take place during the Games.

North Korea is consistently infuriated by the drills, which it sees as invasion preparations.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the delay was “a practical matter” – part of “the normal give and take”, and the drills would be conducted after the Paralympics finished on 19 March.

North Korea accepts Olympics talks offer, says South

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.