North Korea to attend Winter Olympics in rival south

Vastavam web: North Korea will send its athletes to the the Winter Olympics in the South, the rivals said today after their first formal talks in more than two years following high tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.The two sides also decided to hold military talks to ease tensions and to restore a military hotline closed since February 2016.But the North had given no indication it would do so until leader Kim Jong-Un’s New Year address last week, instead pursuing its banned weapons programmes in defiance of United Nations sanctions, launching missiles capable of reaching the United States and detonating its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

“The North Korean side will dispatch a National Olympic Committee delegation, athletes, cheerleaders, art performers’ squad, spectators, a taekwondo demonstration team and a press corps and the South will provide necessary amenities and facilities,” they said in a joint statement.Looking businesslike, the South’s Unification minister Cho Myoung-Gyon and the North’s chief delegate Ri Son-Gwon shook hands at the entrance to the building, and again across the negotiating table.Ri wore a badge on his left lapel bearing an image of the country’s founding father Kim Il-Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-Il, while Cho sported one depicting the South Korean flag.

“Let’s present the people with a precious new year’s gift,” said Ri. “There is a saying that a journey taken by two lasts longer than the one travelled alone.” Even so it was a radically different tone from the rhetoric of recent months, which have seen the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un and US President Donald Trump trade personal insults and threats of war.Pyongyang has defied international pressure in recent months and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, as well as testing what it said was a hydrogen bomb.