January 10, 2018 09:34
North and South Korean officials met in the border truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday and agreed that North Korean athletes will take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
North Korea will also send a delegation of cheerleaders and observers. The two sides also agreed to hold military talks but failed to agree on talks to resume the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea's chief delegate Ri Son-gwon complained about South Korean media reports about the North's nuclear weapons program.
Ri said the reports are "extremely regrettable" since North Korea's nuclear weapons are "thoroughly aimed at the U.S." He added that the talks got off to a good start, but the outcome "leaves something to be desired."
The talks lasted altogether for some four-and-a-half hours and produced a joint press release with three points of agreement, one outlining North Korea's participation in the Olympics.
South Korea's chief delegate, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, asked the North in his opening remarks to send "as many athletes as possible" and proposed that North and South Korean athletes march together in the opening and closing ceremonies as well as putting together a joint cheering squad.
Ri said he would "positively consider" the offers and promised to send a delegation of athletes, cheerleaders, performers and observers.
The two sides also agreed to hold military talks aimed at "resolving tensions" and said all problems in cross-border relations should be addressed through dialogue and negotiations. South Korea proposed resuming reunions of families separated by the Korean War, but that offer was not included in the joint press release.
In the final session, Ri spent a lot of time talking about denuclearization. He complained about a number of military and political issues, including the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and deployment of American strategic weapons in the South.
Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung later said there were differences of opinion, but did not elaborate.
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