S. Korea launches special support team for N. Korean delegates ahead of working-level discussions

내일 남북 차관급 '평창 실무회담' 앞두고 정부, 北 합동지원단 구성

Another inter-Korean meeting on Wednesday.
This one, to iron out details of Pyongyang's winter olympics participation,... including whether the two Koreas will participate as a single team.
Seoul's Unification ministry also launched a special team to assist the visiting delegation during the global games..
Kim Mok-yeon gets us up to speed with the rapid developments.
South Korea's Unification Ministry on Tuesday launched its joint support team to assist North Korean delegates visiting and participating in the upcoming Olympics.
The team of some 20 officials from the Unification Ministry, Culture Ministry and the PyeongChang Olympics Organizing Committee will work to promote and support the activities of the North Korean team.
The move comes as South Korea accepted North Korea's counter-proposal to hold talks early on Wednesday on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjeom.

The North's suggestion of a time and place came Monday in response to Seoul's initial offer last week.
On Tuesday, the two Koreas exchanged the list of representatives who will take part in the talks.
The three members representing South Korea are Vice Minister for Unification Chun Hae-sung, deputy director-general at the Prime Minister's Office Ahn Moon-hyun , and vice president of games planning for PyeongChang Organization Committee Kim Ki-hong .
Their North Korean counterparts are Vice Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea Jon Jong-su , the vice minister of the sports ministry Won Gil-woo , and Kim Kang-guk , whose position has not been confirmed yet.

One expert says the North's latest proposal has two purposes.
The first is for Pyongyang to arrange the terms of its participation in the Olympics, and second is a rather more strategic goal.

"The reason is because North Korea wants to start a propaganda campaign to send a message to the world that North Korea would like to see peace in this region as well as make sure the relationship between the two Koreas should be exclusive to the two Koreas and exclude the U.S. from the issue."

The talks will likely focus on the Olympics rather than politics.
Pundits say that the two sides could discuss the details of the North Korean team's visit, their travel route, accommodation, and on the launching of a unified Korean team.
Since North Korea suggested using the land route for its art troupe to get to PyeongChang next month, there's speculation that the North will also try to use the land route for its other delegates.
Using the land route to visit South Korea is seen as symbolic as the route passes across the Military Demarcation Line.
With the outcome of the discussions on Wednesday, the Seoul government plans to sort out the details of the North's participation with the International Olympic Committee on Saturday in Switzerland.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.

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