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Winter Olympics: North and South Korea Hold Second Meet

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Chun Hae-sung (R), vice unification minister of South Korea, shakes hands with Jon Jong Su, vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), at the truce village of Panmunjom, Jan. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/South Korean Unification Ministry/IANS)

Seoul, Pyongyang hold second meet on Winter Olympics. Working-level talks between South Korea and DPRK were underway Wednesday at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the DPRK’s dispatch of athletes to the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said….reports Asian Lite News

Chun Hae-sung (R), vice unification minister of South Korea, shakes hands with Jon Jong Su, vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), at the truce village of Panmunjom, Jan. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/South Korean Unification Ministry/IANS)

South and North Korea held their second high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss Pyongyang’s participation in the Winter Olympic Games, which will begin on February 9 in the South Korean county Pyeongchang.

The meeting was held in the Peace House, located on the southern fringe of the Panmunjom truce village near the militarized border, a spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Unification told Efe news.

This is the second high-level inter-Korean meeting in little more than a week after both sides held their first such gathering in two years on January 9.

Seoul and Pyongyang in the earlier meeting agreed to convene future military talk sessions to avoid further conflicts and to discuss the appointment of a North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang.

The South Korean delegation in the Wednesday talks was led by Deputy Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung while the three-member North Korean delegation was led by Jon Jong-su, vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, an organization in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

In the morning session, North Korea said it would also send a delegation to the PyeongChang Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to be held from March 9 to 18.

South Korean delegation (L) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) delegation hold talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, Jan. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/South Korean Unification Ministry/IANS)

Both sides agreed that the North Korean athletes’ participation in official competitions in PyeongChang will be determined jointly with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee, which could allow North Korea to debut in winter Paralympic Games.

The IOC has convened a meeting at its headquarters in Switzerland on January 20 with both countries’ Olympic committees and the organising panel of the Winter Games to determine the participation of North Korean athletes, which will require special invitations from the organisation.

During Wednesday’s session, North Korea was expected to announce its decision on South Korea’s offer to march together during the opening and closing parades of the games.

Pyongyang has also not responded to the request made by Seoul on January 9 to hold a meeting in mid-February for families whose members were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea’s Vice Unification Minister said that given the approaching start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, it was “very likely that the Wednesday dialogue will focus only on the sports event”.

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