North Korean and South Korean officials met early Tuesday in the demilitarized zone for their first high-level talks in more than two years. They resulted in agreement for North Korea to send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games taking place in South Korea in February, it was announced. It would include athletes, a cheering squad, an art troupe, a visitors’ group, a Taekwondo demonstration team and a press corps, a closing joint statement said. The two countries also announced military talks “to ease the current military tensions between the two Koreas.” South Korea also proposed holding family reunions during the games for people separated by the Korean War.
This breakthrough after months of tension over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests is not seen in Seoul as marking a fundamental shift in Pyongyang’s policy. “Secretary (Rex Tillerson) believes that it’s premature to judge if it’s a beginning of something, and US pressure on the North will continue until achieving its policy goal,” said Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to Tillerson to Asian reporters.