N. Korea requests working-level talks with S. Korea on dispatching art performers to PyeongChang

통일부 "北, 예술단 파견 실무접촉 15일 진행 제의"
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang start in less than a month, and the two Koreas are continuing to work on plans for the North to participate.
South Korea has requested further talks to be held on Monday, to which the North has agreed.
But the North is apparently not yet ready to talk about sending its athletes.
Rather it wants to start with discussions about cultural performances.
Lee Ji-won explains.
South Korea's Unification Ministry says North Korea sent a statement on Saturday signed by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and the head of Pyongyang's delegation at the recent inter-Korean talks.
He accepted Seoul's proposal for talks on Monday, but said the North would first like to discuss details on dispatching its art performers.
Proposing to hold the meeting at Tongil-gak-- on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjeom this time, Pyongyang said it'll send four delegates,... including the conductor and figures from its orchestra, and it will be headed by Kwon Hyok-bong , director of the arts and performance bureau at its culture ministry.

While Seoul had proposed to hold follow-up working level talks on Monday to discuss further details on the North's participation at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics,... the North on Saturday simply said it'll inform the South on holding talks about North Korea's athletes, cheering squad and its participation at the Olympics at a later time.

Meanwhile, there's growing speculation the two Koreas could play as one team in women's ice hockey.
On his way back from meeting the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland to discuss North Korea's participation in PyeongChang, the North's IOC representative Chang Ung told reporters at Beijing's Capital International Airport that a proposal for a joint women's ice hockey team has been introduced, and the IOC is considering it.
He added that such a decision cannot be made by one side, but together with IOC and other related parties.

The IOC, the National Olympic Committees of the two Koreas and the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee are to convene at the IOC headquarters in Switzerland next Saturday to take a series of essential decisions, including the number and names of the North Korean athletes who will compete in PyeongChang.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.

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