Pence to lead United States delegation in South Korea for Winter Olympics

South Korean Officials Head to Border for Talks With North

South Korean Officials Head to Border for Talks With North

After high level delegations met for 11 hours, North and South Korea agreed to restore the emergency communication hotline between the two counties, and hold military talks to resolve disputes and avert accidental conflict, as tensions remain high over North Korea's efforts to develop nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States.

The meeting came after months of confrontation over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, with both parties seeking to dial down tensions.

In his New Year's Day address, Kim said there is an urgent need to improve inter-Korean ties and that he is willing to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Games.

North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Games is a tacit guarantee that it will refrain from such provocations during February and March, when the Olympics and Paralympics are held.

Pence is expected to be joined by first daughter Ivanka Trump, but her attendance isn't confirmed, officials told the Wall Street Journal. "I think President Trump's role in the realisation of inter-Korean talks was very big", he said.

But what happens when the lights are turned off at Pyeongchang and geopolitics returns to normal on the peninsula?

There were "many problems" to settle between the two sides, he added, warning of "unexpected obstacles" down the road. "We don't know", he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in emphasized on Wednesday that the denuclearization of North Korea is the long-term goal of his efforts to engage with Pyongyang to participate in the upcoming Olympics, and to resume military talk. They will discuss plans for the next round of talks. In a speech that allows the president to outline his government's agenda and national priorities for the rest of the year, the South Korean leader spent most of his time focusing on the nation's economic and social issues.

Seoul will also freeze the $8 million Tokyo donation to the Comfort Women and instead use South Korean government funds to help the survivors.

But the USA has said North Korea must stop nuclear tests in order for negotiations with Washington to take place.

Even so, North Korea took issue with South Korea raising the issue of denuclearisation during the meeting, with its top delegate issuing a "strong complaint" to his counterparts from Seoul.

Doveish President Moon may not easily give up on the progress with Pyongyang, Kim said, "which is bound to create noise in the alliance".

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