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Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

United Nations envoy says no change in USA position on North Korea talks


"People with practical experience in talks and other aspects of inter-Korean relations were put front and center, apparently reflecting a determination to tackle not only the Pyeongchang Olympics but also the laundry list of issues affecting inter-Korean relations", said Kim Yong-hyeon, a professor at Dongguk University. That conflict ended in a ceasefire and technically the two sides remain at war.

This photo, taken January 8, 2018, shows Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. Hwang attended vice minister-level inter-Korean talks held in 2015 and inter-Korean working-level talks held in 2013 to address the Kaesong Complex crisis as an advisor for North Korea's National Economic Cooperation Federation, which oversees the North's cooperation projects with the South. "This appears to be aimed at facilitating future meetings between the vice ministers", said Koo Kap-woo, professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

Chang Ung, Pyongyang's sole International Olympic Committee member, said in a meeting with reporters in an airport in Beijing that his country is "likely to participate" in the Winter Games slated for February 9-25, according to foreign news reports.

This week the US and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.

The talks will kick off at 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) Tuesday at the Peace House. In a press briefing last week, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang relayed China's hope for "all relevant parties" to use the Winter Games as a platform to "bring the issue back to the correct track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation".

According to reports, Bach is scheduled to meet Chang Ung, a member of the North Korean Olympic body at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to discuss North Korea's possible participation in the games.

On July 17, 2016, the South proposed holding military talks on easing border tensions, and a Red Cross meeting to discuss reunions of divided families. Chun Hae-sung is regarded as an expert at negotiating with North Korea, a policy expert who has occupied key positions in the Unification Ministry.

Toward that end, the two sides held in-depth discussions on ways to stably manage the situation and engage North Korea in meaningful dialogue, it said.

The dispute over "comfort women" - a euphemism used to refer to women mostly from Asian countries who worked in brothels built to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II - has been one of the major issues that have strained ties between Tokyo and Seoul for years.

On Monday, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said the Japanese and South Korean delegates to the six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea agreed to step up diplomatic efforts to tap the "peace momentum" on the Korean Peninsula to resolve their nuclear tensions with Pyongyang.

Moon also hopes that better inter-Korean relations will pave the way for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and for broader talks between the United States and the North.

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