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

A torch bearer wearing traditional Korean king costume carries the torch during the Olympic Torch Relay in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. 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. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The rival Koreas agree to discuss a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea — The rival Koreas 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 Monday's talks can focus primarily on its 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 two 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 Monday's meeting at Panmunjom will include an official from the 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 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 the Games. The delegation is expected to include 400-500 people.

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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