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Inter-Korean talks on PyeongChang to open before IOC meeting: Seoul

11 January 2018 11:58 1230
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Inter-Korean talks on PyeongChang to open before IOC meeting: Seoul

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South and North Korea will likely hold working-level talks on the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics before the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s meeting slated for late next week, Seoul officials said Thursday, Yonhap reports. 

The IOC announced Thursday that it will convene a meeting with officials from the two Koreas on Jan. 20 in Lausanne, Switzerland to discuss the issue.

"It is believed that the working-level talks are likely to be held before (Jan. 20). Based on the outcomes of the inter-Korean meeting, the IOC and the two Koreas are expected to finalize details (over the North's participation)," said an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

After inter-Korean high-level talks on Tuesday, North Korea agreed to send a delegation of athletes, cheerleaders, an art troupe and others, along with high-ranking officials to the Feb. 9-25 Games in the South.

The two sides are expected to discuss details to prepare for its participation including travel route, accommodations and other logistics. Seoul said that it agreed to provide necessary support for the North's delegation.

Seoul may send Roh Tae-kang, a vice cultural minister, as the chief delegate to the working-level talks. He was among South Korea's five-member delegation to the high-level meeting.

The North's participation in the Games came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un extended a rare rapprochement toward Seoul in his New Year's message.

Meanwhile, Seoul is apparently agonizing over how to handle the North's delegation without violating international and unilateral sanctions.

Under U.N. sanctions, it is impossible for the South to offer cash to the North when it supports accommodation expenses.

Sea travel could be in violation of South Korea's unilateral sanctions that ban the entry to South Korea of any vessel that has sailed to North Korea within the past 12 months.

If blacklisted North Korean officials are included in its high-level delegation, the South Korean government would also be in the hot water.

President Moon Jae-in told reporters Wednesday that he is not considering easing Seoul's unilateral sanctions on North Korea.

"The size of the North's delegation should be first set. Then, we could discuss transportation means or travel route," the ministry official said. "The government will prepare for the Games in a way not to spark concerns or a row (over the sanctions)."

 

 


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