What to expect from North-South Korean talks

Ivan Schwartz
January 9, 2018

"We will be as flexible as we can be", an International Olympic Committee spokesman told AFP over North Korea sending a team to the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.

The South Korean government on Tuesday will announce its official view on the previous administration's 2015 deal with Japan meant to resolve the issue of wartime "comfort women", with several diplomatic sources saying Seoul will call on Tokyo to voluntarily take additional action.

She defended U.S. President Donald Trump's response to Kim after the North Korean leader said in a New Year's address that he had a "nuclear button" on his desk and that "the whole territory of the U.S.is within the range of our nuclear strike".

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 Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.

Athletes from the two Koreas took similar steps at worldwide sporting events during an earlier era of inter-Korean detente.

Bach has been open to North Korea's participation, and has stated that he supports the idea of the two Koreas fielding a unified team in the upcoming games. January 8, 2018 "We plan to discuss matters on the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics, as well as matters related to improving inter-Korean ties". But North Korea could demand some rewards in exchange for those steps, such as the revival of stalled cooperation projects that are lucrative for the North or the suspensions of annual U.S.

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

Analysts say tensions could flare again after the Olympics, with US and South Korean troops carrying out their delayed drills, and North Korea likely responding with new weapons tests.

Stating with the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the two countries have since made joint entrances at nine major global events.

South Korea's delegation will be headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. Ri is known as a close associate of senior Workers' Party official Kim Yong Chol, who Seoul officials believe was behind two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.

Other reports by GizPress

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