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Koreas set for first official talks in two years

AFP  |  Seoul 

Top officials from North and South Korea will hold their first official dialogue in more than two years today after months of high tensions over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions.

The long-stalled talks come after the North's Kim Jong-Un indicated in his New Year's speech that was willing to send a delegation to in the South.

responded with an offer of a high-level dialogue, and last week the hotline between the neighbours was restored after being suspended for almost two years.

The talks at Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, will largely focus on the North's participation in next month's Winter in the South.

has been keen to proclaim the event in Pyeongchang, just 80 kilometres south of the DMZ, a "peace Olympics" in the wake of ICBM and nuclear tests by the North -- but it needs the North to attend to make the description meaningful.

If the North agrees, one of the top agenda items will be whether the two Koreas' sportspeople make joint entrances to the opening and closing ceremonies, as they did for 2000, 2004 and in Torino.

The size and membership of the North Korean delegation and their accommodation -- widely expected to be paid for by -- will also be discussed.

The group may stay in a cruise ship in Sokcho, about an hour's drive from the Olympic venue -- which would enable their movements to be closely monitored and controlled.

With only a handful of qualified winter sports athletes, analysts say is likely to send significant numbers of cheerleaders to the Pyeongchang Games, which run from February 9 to 25.

Hundreds of young, good-looking female North Korean cheerleaders have created a buzz at three previous international sporting events in the South.

"For to achieve its desired effects and to attract attention, it will have to dispatch its beauty cheering squad," said An Chan-Il, a who heads the for Studies.

South Korean reports have suggested the North could send a high-level delegation to the Games including Kim's younger sister Yo-Jong, who is a of the ruling Workers' Party.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 03:40 IST
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