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North, South Korea Hold Rare Talks Ahead of Asian Games

  • VOA News

FILE - North Korean chief delegate Son Kwang-Ho.

FILE - North Korean chief delegate Son Kwang-Ho.

North and South Korea held talks Thursday to discuss the North's participation in the Asian Games being held later this year in the South.

Ahead of the meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, the head of the North's Olympic Committee, Son Kwang Ho, expressed optimism.

"In this meeting, through joint efforts, let us aim for trust and understanding, and on these principles let us resolve any problems," said Ho.

The focus of the working-level meeting, which lasted 70 minutes, was primarily on logistical issues for the North Korean delegation.

Pyongyang plans to send 150 athletes and a squad of cheerleaders to the games, held in late September and early October in the South Korean city of Incheon.

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.

The talks come amid increased tensions between the two neighbors following North Korea's repeated missile and artillery tests.

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

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