Rival Koreas agree to talk on art troupe's visit to Olympics

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, file photo, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, right, shakes hands with the head of North Korean delegation Ri Son Gwon during their meeting at the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea. South Korea said Saturday that North Korea proposed that their talks next week address a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, rather than the participation of the nation’s athletes. (Korea Pool via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The rival Koreas have agreed Saturday that their talks next week will address a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, rather than the participation of the nation's athletes.

Pyongyang wanted talks on sending its athletes and other officials to the February Olympics to be held at a later date so that next Monday's talks can focus primarily on the North Korean art troupe's participation in the Games, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. The South agreed to the North's proposal, the ministry said.

Officials from the rival Koreas met earlier this week in the border village of Panmunjom, their first talks in more than two years. At that meeting they agreed to hold military talks and send a North Korean delegation of officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others to the Olympics.

Seoul's delegation to next Monday's meeting at the border village of Panmunjom will be an official from its culture ministry, the head of the Korean Symphony Orchestra and its art director and an official from Unification Ministry, the ministry said.

They will meet a delegation from Pyongyang headed by the director of the arts and performance bureau of the North's culture ministry. A conductor and two other officials from a North Korean orchestra will also be part of the delegation.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said it asked Pyongyang to promptly respond on when further talks can be held to discuss details of sending North Korean athletes and other officials to Games.

Separately, the International Olympic Committee has proposed a meeting on Jan. 20 at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, involving the rival Koreas to discuss North Korea's participation in Pyeongchang.

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