North and South Korea agree to hold working-level talks on Jan 15

North Korea also wanted to also propose another date for working-level talks about its participation in the Winter Olympics.
North Korea also wanted to also propose another date for working-level talks about its participation in the Winter Olympics.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (REUTERS, AFP) - North Korea and South Korea have agreed to have working-level talks on Jan 15 at the Tongil Pavilion on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom, news agency Yonhap reported.

South Korea’s unification ministry said earlier on Saturday (Jan 13) that North Korea had proposed holding talks on the prospects of sending its performance art group to the Pyongchang winter Olympics which are being held in South Korea.

"North Korea sent a notification suggesting to have working-level talks at the Tongil Pavilion on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom on January 15 to discuss about sending its performance group," said the ministry in its statement.

The ministry said the North wanted to also propose another date for working-level talks about its participation in the Winter Olympics.

The Olympics will be held in Pyongchang from Feb 9-25.

The latest announcement came four days after the high-level talks held at the "truce village" of Panmunjom, the first between the two sides since 2015.

During the Jan 9 talks, ostensibly to discuss North Korea's participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics hosted by the South, the two Koreas agreed to hold military talks in what is being seen as a step forward in easing tensions on the peninsula triggered by a string of missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang.

Hyon Song Wol, leader of the popular Moranbong band, is one of four North Korean delegates set to attend the talks on Jan 15. 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.

Meanwhile, North Korea's International Olympics Committee (IOC) official said it is considering South Korea's proposal for a united female hockey team, Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday (Jan 13).

South Korea's unification ministry and sports and tourism ministry, however, both said they have no knowledge of the matter.

A South Korean government minister said on Friday that the proposal was made during Tuesday's (Jan 9) inter-Korean talks.

 

"We made various proposals including the fielding of a joint women's ice hockey team and a joint march into the Olympic stadium," South Korea's vice-sports minister Roh Tae Kang said, according to Yonhap.