SEOUL: The two Koreas will hold talks next week to discuss the North’s plan to send a performing art troupe to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Seoul’s unification ministry said Saturday (Jan 13).
The North confirmed it would attend next month’s Olympics in the South at a rare inter-Korean meeting last week, following months of tensions over its nuclear weapons programme.
The ministry said the North was apparently keen to discuss logistics of the performers’ trip to the South before planning its athletes and supporters’ attendance at the Games.
“The government informed the North that our delegation will come to Panmunjom on Jan 15”, the ministry said in a statement.
Both sides will each dispatch four delegates including art officials to the talks.
Hyon Song-Wol, leader of the popular Moranbong band, is one of four North Korean delegates to attend the talks in the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday.
The Moranbong band is an all-female music group performing pop, rock and fusion styles, whose members are reportedly selected by the leader Kim Jong-Un himself.
The development comes a day after South Korea’s vice sports minister Roh Tae-Kang said the South had proposed marching with the North at the Olympics’ opening ceremony and also forming a joint women’s ice hockey team during the high-level talks which took place on Tuesday.
A joint march at the opening ceremony would be a stunning statement for the Games dubbed the “Peace Olympics”, which will open about 80 kilometres from the heavily fortified Korean border on Feb 9.
North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, meaning Pyeongchang will be the first Olympics they have attended in the South.