North Korea, South Korea kick off high-level talks regarding Winter Olympics
Liu Xingzhe/VCG via Getty Images(SEOUL) — Officials from North Korean and South Korea have begun long-anticipated talks centered around clearing the way for a North Korean delegation to participate in next month’s Winter Olympics.
Five representatives from the highest levels of both governments — including South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and the North Korean chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, Ri Son-gwon — kicked off by meeting with a symbolic crossing by the northern delegation into the South-controlled building called House of Peace.
Neither president is in attendance. But the South’s leader, President Moon Jae-in, will be watching the talks on CCTV live with audio; his counterpart, Kim Jong Un, can only listen and not watch.
Journalists from both countries reported on the meeting by the minute, and described the mood as “good.” At 10:00 South Korean time, the officials shook hands and took their seats.
In his opening remarks, Ri of the North suggested broadcasting the talks live to show how they are “efforting to work” on the talks “in a transparent manner.”
“We want to give the entire nation,” he said, referring to both countries, “a New Year’s present with a precious conclusion.”
South Korea’s Cho, however, said the talks should be closed, and perhaps show them live later if necessary.
The talks will focus on, among other things, who will bear the costs for the trip and the size of the North Korean delegation.
This is the first inter-Korean talks in 25 months. It comes just eight days after the North Korean leader announced he would like to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics.
The South welcomed the proposal, and followed up by reconnecting the direct communication link at the joint security area between the two Koreas.
The talks also come as U.S. President Trump is having a war of words with Kim Jong Un — recently taunting the North Korean by saying his “nuclear button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than his.
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