North Korea will send around 230 people as a single cheering squad to the Winter Olympics in the South next month, South Korea's unification ministry said in a statement after officials from the two Koreas held talks Wednesday.
North and South Korea have been talking since last week regarding Pyongyang's participation in the Olympics. The ministry said the two sides exchanged opinions on several issues, including the size of the North Korean athletics team, joint cultural events and use of the Masikryong ski report in North Korea.
This is the first official talks between the two countries in more than two years which was brought about by a rare diplomatic gesture from the North Korean leader during his New Year’s address in which he said he was open to sending a team to participate in the Winter Olympics in the South, an offer that was welcomed by his counterpart in Seoul.
The North agreed to meet after Seoul and Washington agreed to discontinue joint military exercises until the Winter Paralympics ends on March 18. The PyeongChang games start on Feb. 9.
Meetings of the two Koreas are being closely watched by world leaders amid continued tensions on the Korean peninsula over mounting fears stemming from North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and defiance of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.