North Korea Fires Back After South Korean President Thanks US

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North Korea has proposed talks next week to discuss its plan to send a performing art troupe to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. Four officials from each country started a working-level meeting to thrash out details on the northern side of the border village of Panmunjom, Seoul's unification ministry said.

The two sides had earlier released a joint statement promising to hold a new round of talks, and officials were hopeful on the progress being made.

The Unification Ministry said North Korea wanted to send a delegation headed by the director of the arts and performance bureau of the North's culture ministry to Monday's talks.

North Korea responded that it will send a three-member delegation led by Jon Jong-su, who is vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, North Korea's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

The two Koreas held a general meeting between 1010 and 1035 KST and a meeting between chief delegates from 1200 and 1225 KST, the Ministry of Unification (MOU) said in a written statement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in answers reporters' question during his New Year news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

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The proposal was made during Tuesday's inter-Korean talks, where North Korea confirmed it would attend the Pyeongchang Olympics following months of tensions over its nuclear weapons programme.

"We will as ever strive to improve the North-South ties but will never remain an onlooker to sordid acts of chilling the efforts", the report published in the mouthpiece outlet for the North Korean regime further said.

Fast-thawing relations between North and South Korea have renewed enthusiasm for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but North Korea may be using the momentum to request other concessions from Seoul.

After leaving Seoul, the torch will travel to the northern parts of Gyeonggi Province and head towards the host city of the Winter Games.

Hook said President Donald Trump credits the pressure campaign with convincing the North to agree to renewed dialogue with the South.

Monday's meeting is seen as another step towards more substantive talks that could help defuse spiraling tensions in recent months that saw threats of nuclear attacks by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. South and North Korea achieved great things by setting up unified teams in the World Table Tennis Championships and FIFA World Youth Championship in 1991.

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