International Olympic Committee extends North Korea's Winter Olympics participation decision 'deadline'

Members of the North Korean delegation left with

Tuesday's Lausanne summit comes days after the two Koreas agreed to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years to discuss the North's participation in the Winter Olympics.

These will be the first high-level talks between the 2 countries since December 2015.

South Korean officials say they will focus in the talks on Olympic cooperation before moving onto more hard political and military issues.

"For North Korea to achieve its desired effects and to attract attention, it will have to dispatch its beauty cheering squad", said An Chan Il, a defector-turned-researcher who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies.

"After this week's high-level talks, there will be the need to continue discussions at the working level".

With only a handful of qualified winter sports athletes, analysts say North Korea is likely to send significant numbers of cheerleaders to the Pyeongchang Games, which run from February 9 to 25.

A veteran negotiator in inter-Korean affairs, he has participated in talks with North Korea since the 1990s, including their last summit in 2007. "It's very important that we don't ever let [Kim] get so arrogant that he doesn't realize the reality of what would happen if he started a nuclear war", Haley told host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.


The talks will begin at 10:00 a.m., and the two sides will craft detailed schedules through consultations, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

"We will be as flexible as we can be", an International Olympic Committee spokesman told AFP over North Korea sending a team to the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.

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.

Asked if North Korea's denuclearization issue could be discussed, the spokesman said, "The two Koreas plan to discuss Olympic cooperation and issues of mutual concern".

The drills' suspension is something that South Korea can not accept in consideration of its relations with the US, its main ally, which is seeking increased pressure and sanctions on the North. Ri is known as a close associate of senior Workers' Party official Kim Yong Chol, who Seoul officials believe was behind two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans. Ri rebutted Seoul's announcement that the North is behind the warship sinking at a press briefing in May of that year.

Analysts say tensions could flare again after the Olympics, with US and South Korean troops carrying out their delayed drills, and North Korea likely responding with new weapons tests. "They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons".

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