While key advisors in President Trump’s administration discuss the pros and cons of a “bloody nose” attack against North Korea, representatives from the belligerent nation sat down with members of its southern counterpart for rare talks on Tuesday. Stemming from a diplomatic “breakthrough” last week, Tuesday’s hours-long talks resulted in two major feats for the otherwise warring nations. First, North Korea agreed to send a delegation to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February. And second? The two countries have agreed to “inter-Korean military discussions” for the first time in years.
According to Reuters, North Korea agreed to attend the Winter Olympics after South Korea “said it was prepared to lift some sanctions temporarily” for the occasion. The delegation to be sent will reportedly “consist of athletes, high-ranking officials and a cheering squad.” Explaining that they “see the Olympics as a possible opportunity for easing tension,” South Korean officials have specifically offered to stay bans against certain North Korean officials — and other sanctions — initially put in place due to its northern neighbor’s ramped-up nuclear weapons program.
In a statement issued following the conclusion of Tuesday’s talks, South Korea Vice-Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung noted their request for “denuclearization.” “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearization, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” he said. South Korea’s call for denuclearization was met with a “strong complaint” from North Korea, but the two groups nonetheless agreed to hold military talks in the near future.