Recent talks between North and South Korea have resulted in a set of unusual but hopeful outcomes, not the least of which being North Korean’s agreement to compete in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.
Talks between North and South Korea took place Tuesday on a wide range of issues, one of which was the North’s potential involvement in the Olympic Games to be hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“The North said that they will send a high-level delegation, including Olympic committee representatives, athletes, a cheering squad, an art performance group, spectators, Taekwondo demonstrators and press,” said vice minister of unification Chun Hae-sung.
According to The Washington Post, vice minister of unification Chun Hae-sung told reporters that the North has agreed to send athletes to compete in February. “The North said that they will send a high-level delegation, including Olympic committee representatives, athletes, a cheering squad, an art performance group, spectators, Taekwondo demonstrators, and press.”
Negotiations took place on Tuesday in Panmunjom truce village, a small collection of buildings within the demilitarized zone between the two countries. This represents the first diplomatic meeting between North and South since December of 2015.
Kim Jong-un mentioned during his New Year’s address to the nation that he was interested in sending a delegation to the Olympic Games, and the South had always hoped that such a delegation would be sent.
Although the talks did end with an agreement to attend the Games as well as reopen the military hotline between the two countries, North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon had a sober reminder of the North’s nuclear arsenal.
"All our state-of-the-art strategic weapons like atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic rockets are completely targeting the United States. They are not targeting our compatriots," he said, referring to South Korea.
Chief South Korean delegate Cho Myoung-gyon said the successful talks are a "first step toward the development of South-North relations."
"I see North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Games will provide us with a chance to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula," he said to reporters.