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North Korea Proposes Talks with South on Asian Games Delegation

  • VOA News

North Korea map

North Korea map

North Korea has proposed talks on its plan to send a delegation to the Asian Games being held later this year in South Korea.

The North's Olympic Committee said the working-level talks could be held next Tuesday in the border village of Panmunjom.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, says it is considering the offer and will respond later Thursday.

It is not clear what exactly would be discussed in the proposed talks, though logistical issues for the northern delegation could be one topic.

Pyongyang plans to send 150 athletes and a squad of cheerleaders to the games, which are being held in Incheon in late September and early October.

It would be the first time in nine years that North Korea has sent a cheerleading squad to a South Korean athletic event.

The cheerleaders, who perform synchronized dance moves and wear traditional Korean dresses, have become very popular in the South.

North Korea says the delegation is meant to improve bilateral relations that have suffered amid a series of recent missile tests by the North.

Seoul has rejected Pyongyang's plan to reduce tensions, which included a demand to cancel the South's war drills with the United States.

South Korea says the North must first demonstrate it is willing to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which defy U.N. sanctions.

Tensions regularly flare up between the two neighbors, which remain in a technical state of war following their 1950s conflict.