Britain eye at least five medals at PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Britain eye at least five medals at PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Evans Revere, a former senior US diplomat for East Asia, said that by engaging Seoul, North Korea was clearly seeking to weaken the US-South Korean alliance and it was important that Seoul had raised the nuclear issue to show it was not just a US-North Korea matter.

North Korean state media has not yet appeared to comment on the outcome of Tuesday's talks, and it remains unknown whether the Kim regime has attached any conditions to its decision to attend the Games. According to reports from the negotiations, the countries agreed North Korea will send a delegation of athletes and a cheering squad.

North Korea is weak in winter sports and a pair of figure skaters, Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, earlier became the only North Korean athletes to qualify for next month's Pyeongchang Games before the North missed a confirmation deadline.

North Korea's participation in the Olympics is a relief for South Korean officials, who anxious Pyongyang could pose a threat to the games if it wasn't involved. He said the two countries will hold follow-up working-level talks on their Olympic cooperation.

The statement says North Korea also agreed to send a delegation to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and work for the success of the games.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday also welcomed North Korean interest in joining the Pyeongchang Games but also reiterated that Pyongyang's nuclear program remains a grave worldwide threat and that the United Nations sanctions imposed on Pyongyang must continue to be strictly implemented.

Kim, 25, and Ryom, 18, are now North Korea's only athletes to qualify for this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Washington had raised concerns that the overtures by North Korea could drive a wedge between it and Seoul, but Moon said his government did not differ with the United States over how to respond to the threats posed by Pyongyang.

The talks were held in Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that splits the peninsula, with the North's group walking over the Military Demarcation Line to the Peace House venue on the southern side - just yards from where a defector ran across in a hail of bullets two months ago.

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North Korea ramped up its missile launches past year and also conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, resulting in some of the strongest worldwide sanctions yet.

"We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearization, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula", Chun said.

During an earlier era of inter-Korean detente, athletes from the two Koreas paraded together at global sports events such as the Olympics and fielded a unified Korean team.

As a first step after Kim's speech, South Korea agreed to postpone military exercises with the USA until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics end.

Now only two North Korean figure skaters have qualified for the games. The International Olympic Committee said Monday it has "kept the door open" for North Korea to take part in the games. They wouldn't talk about visiting South Korea and walked away when asked about their choice of music.

The restoration of the hotline was the second such move in a week. All major inter-Korean communication channels had been shut down amid animosity over the North's nuclear program in recent years.

Tuesday's meeting began awkwardly, with small talk about the weather, in a sign that any restoration of relations was not going to be quick. "I would like to hold this meeting with tenacity and perseverance", he said.

Even so, North Korea took issue with South Korea raising the issue of denuclearisation during the meeting, with its top delegate issuing a "strong complaint" to his counterparts from Seoul. But the joint statement didn't mention such reunions.

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