North Korea accepts proposal for talks next week on Olympics

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Direct defections across the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula are very rare, but this year there have been four, including a dramatic dash under a hail of bullets by a Northern soldier in November.

Kim's overture did not surprise some Korea experts, as it came just weeks before the South is due to host the Winter Olympics. Some maintain that the International Olympic Committee is not formally subject to the terms of UNSC resolutions sanctioning North Korea because it is not a "UN member country". In its cable, North Korea said that the agenda of the meeting would be matters related to improving inter-Korean relations, including North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. "He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we're working on it. with a lot of people".

Speaking to CNN, Tillerson made clear that Washington was also open to talks with North Korea, but warned that while it aimed to resolve the crisis diplomatically, "those diplomatic efforts are backed by a strong military option if necessary".

The exercises have been a major source of tension because North Korea considers them an invasion rehearsal, although South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said the drills are defensive in nature. His statement was followed by the move for North-South talks, and then the suspension of the U.S. The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be held from February 9th to the 25th, and the Paralympics will be held from March 9th to the 18th, which would have overlapped with the biggest of the joint exercises that are held each spring, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, which involve more than 300-thousand US and South Korean soldiers.

When talks enter a stage of dealing with more serious issues such as economic, humanitarian or military matters, the South must be prudent and cautious.

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South Korea expects more talks over the weekend with North Korea via a hotline reopened earlier this week, Baik said.

"Look, right now they're talking Olympics".

"We won't know that until we sit down and talk with them", said a senior official with the Blue House. This is why South Korea must keep a rock-solid United States alliance. Sources reported that the Ministry of Unification and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are now carefully examining not only UNSC resolutions but also independent sanctions by the South Korea and U.S. governments for various possible scenarios that could arise in connection with support for North Korea's Olympic participation.

The vast majority of defectors from the impoverished North, which suffers chronic food shortages and is subject to UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, go first to China.