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Two Koreas kick off high-level talks over Olympics, ties

By Ma Fei (People's Daily)    14:05, January 09, 2018

The chief delegates of the two sides shake hands before the meeting. (Photo: Yonhap news)

Seoul (People's Daily)–The two Koreas hold high-level talks on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom with regard to the North's possible participation in next month's Winter Olympics and ways to improve bilateral ties. This marks the first talk in over two years.

The two sides lead a five-member government delegation respectively, with Cho Myoung-gyon as the South's chief delegate and Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, as the counterpart.

"We will keep a calm manner during the talks and make an effort to transform the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the Paralympics into a peace festival, and make today's talks a good beginning to improve the South's and North’s relationship," Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, the South's chief delegate for the talks, said Tuesday morning before departure for Panmunjom.

At the start of the talks, chief North Korean delegate Ri Son-gwon said he expects two sides talk in a sincere and faithful manner and give “precious” results to the Korean people, according to Yonhap news.

As the Yonhap news reported, the possible agenda items with regard to the Olympics include whether the North's delegation would travel by land or other routes and whether the two Koreas would march together under a unified Korean flag at the opening and closing ceremonies.

Asked if the denuclearization issue could be discussed during the bilateral talks on Monday's press briefing, the spokesman of Korean Unification Ministry Baik Tae-hyun said that the two sides plan to discuss cooperation on Olympics and issues of mutual concern.

The inter-Korean talks came as Seoul proposed high-level talks with Pyongyang over its participation in the Winter Olympics in the wake of the North Korean leader's New Year's Day address. Kim Jong-un said the country is willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics and is ready to have inter-Korean talks over the matter.

Korean chief delegate, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (left), and his counterpart Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. (Photo: Yonhap news) 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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