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Koreas to Start Talks on Olympics, Reunification

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The two Koreas are preparing to hold their first round of formal talks in almost two years at a border village on next month's Winter Olympics, among other issues of bilateral interest.

Koreas

Delegates from both sides are scheduled to meet at the truce village of Panmunjom at 10:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday days after Pyongyang expressed its willingness to take part in the winter games.

The talks will primarily focus on North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics, which will be held in South Korea's PyeongChang County.

Pyongyang agreed to the negotiations on Friday hours after South Korea and the US delayed a military exercise amid tensions over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

According to the South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon, Seoul will also "prepare for discussions on the issue of separated families and ways to ease military tensions" on the Korean Peninsula.

The neighbors have been separated by a heavily militarized border since the three-year-long Korean War came to an end in 1953.

The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty, leaving many families separated at the two sides.

South Korean government officials, however, said they do not know what Pyongyang would pursue in the negotiations, but analysts suggest North Korea -- under harsh UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs-- would likely try to discuss humanitarian aid and economic cooperation.

Ahead of the inter-Korean talks, nuclear envoys of Japan and South Korea met in Seoul on Monday to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the South's Foreign Ministry said.

Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula over the past year, which saw several missile and nuclear launches by Pyongyang as well as an exchange of military threats between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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