Olympic flame stops in Seoul on way to Pyeongchang

Image AFP  Ed Jones

Image AFP Ed Jones

North Korea has called for further talks on sending its athletes to next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be held on Wednesday at the truce village of Panmunjom.

The South's delegates include senior officials from the state-run Korean Symphony Orchestra, raising the prospect of groups from both sides of the border Demilitarised Zone performing together - another top North Korean act is the State Merited Chorus, a military choir.

The two sides agreed the orchestra would hold performances in Seoul and at Gangneung near the Olympic site of Pyeongchang, South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement.

They will meet a delegation from Pyongyang headed by the director of the arts and performance bureau of the North's culture ministry.

"In addition, the ministry also requested for a quick response for South Korea's proposal on January 12 to have working-level talks about the North's participation in Pyongchang winter Olympics", added the ministry. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have traded rhetoric and insults over the previous year, as North Korea has accelerated weapons tests and appears on the cusp of having a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the USA mainland.

In a report on North Korean human rights submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in September, the UN special rapporteur on North Korean human rights Tomas Ojea Quintana said some of the women might not have agreed to defect.

Outlets were also denounced for claiming that the goal of the high-level talks was to "evade sanctions on North Korea".

"The present South Korean chief executive's attitude casts doubt as to his intent to improve the North-South ties and build confidence", it said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shows little sign of bowing to the pressure.

The Rodong Sinmun, the paper of the ruling party, argued that it is important to ease "the acute military tension" between North and South Korea to create "a peaceful environment", a "climate favorable for national reconciliation and reunification, " according to CNN.

Moon's policy is both rapprochement with North Korea and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Family reunion is one of the major agendas for the inter-Korean talks.

Calling the North's nuclear weapons program a "Cold War-era legacy", Choo urged Pyongyang to come out for talks to discuss ways to establish a lasting peace on the peninsula.

Tension has been high as the North staged a flurry of nuclear and missile tests since previous year and Kim traded threats of war and personal attacks with US President Donald Trump.

The cheese-loving crackpot was furious to hear South Korean President Moon Jae-In lavish praise on Donald Trump for opening up the talks with harsh sanctions on the pariah state.

The broadcaster went on to threaten the regime's exit from the Olympics, saying the train destined to carry the country's delegation to the games hasn't yet departed.

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