North, South Korea Begin Talks With Winter Olympics as First Focus

Both Sides Aim to Improve Bilateral Ties

Tuesday morning on the Korean Peninsula, direct talks between North and South Korean officials were held for the first time in over two years, with the immediate focus on the inclusion of North Korean athletes in next month’s Winter Olympics.

Talks on the Winter Olympics don’t seem like a big deal,  but it’s their relatively non-controversial nature that makes them a perfect first order of business, as the two sides look to improve bilateral ties and grease the wheels for more consequential talks in the future.

It should be a pretty straightforward success, too, as South Korea has long insisted the north is welcome at the games, and North Korean officials have suggested that they are open to sending a delegation so long as there aren’t wargames ongoing at the time, which it appears there won’t be.

South Korean officials have hyped these talks as a major breakthrough, as President Moon has sought new negotiations with North Korea since his election last summer. US officials have sought to downplay the matter, saying they doubt anything will come of such talks.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of