South Korea to honor 2015 'comfort women' accord with Japan

Gladys Abbott
January 9, 2018

"We welcome the discussion which will take place on Wednesday between the governments of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)", an International Olympic Committee spokesman said.

The decision to suspend the exercises was reached on a phone call between President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says it is "good for the United States" that North and South Korea are set to engage in high-level talks, but warned Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions still pose a serious threat to the world. South Korea may suggest that North and South Korean athletes parade together during the opening and closing ceremonies and field a joint women's ice hockey team. But such symbols of reduced animosity would receive widespread attention at Pyeongchang after a year of heightened nuclear tensions during which Kim and Trump traded threats of nuclear war and crude personal attacks.

On Saturday, North Korea Olympic body member Chang Ung said the isolated state was "likely to participate" in the Pyeongchang Games from February 9-25, Kyodo news agency reported.

But North Korea, which is weak in winter sports, now has no athletes qualified to participate in the Pyeonghang Games.

A veteran negotiator in inter-Korean affairs, he has participated in talks with North Korea since the 1990s, including their last summit in 2007.

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South Korea wants to discuss the resumption of family reunions but Pyongyang snubbed previous offers, saying it will not consider further reunions unless several of its citizens are returned by the South.

The Trump administration has agreed to delay upcoming springtime drills with South Korea until after the Olympic Games.

As well as the Olympics, the two sides could bring up their own priority issues, which analysts say will be much more challenging.

During a different Sunday talk show interview, CIA Director Mike Pompeo also came to the president's defense, telling Fox News that the nuclear button tweet was "entirely consistent with what we're trying to communicate" to the North Korean leader.

The North Korean delegation is headed by Ri Son Gwon, a hardliner who heads a government agency that handles relations with South Korea. South Korea is sending its top official on North Korea, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

Ri, who has a military background, is known as one of the closest aides to Kim Yong-chol, the head of the ruling party's United Front Department and former chief of North Korea's reconnaissance bureau.

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