01/15/2018, 14.19
KOREA

Olympics, new meeting between the two Koreas. Consensus grows among South Koreans

Pyongyang's participation at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is being prepared. On the 20th there will be the meeting with the International Olympic Committee. Many logistical aspects to be analyzed. Since January 9, 64% of online comments on South Korean sites are positive. 

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) -Today, North Korea has proposed a second meeting with South Korea to discuss the details of its participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, scheduled for February 9-25. The line of communication was resumed after two years of tensions, which began with the opening of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the beginning of the year.

The two delegations should meet in two days’ time on the south side of Panmunjon, a village located in the demilitarized area, on the border between the two Koreas.

Seoul had already argued that the two countries should meet before the two delegations meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), scheduled for next  January 20 in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Seoul agreed to provide the necessary support to the Northern delegation. The South Korean authorities have proposed that the two Koreas march together with the opening ceremony and form a joint female ice hockey team. North Korea seems to consider the first proposal "positive", while the second is under the scrutiny of the IOC.

Among the logistical aspects to be discussed are the delegation's accommodation and the method of arrival of the delegation. The latter may encounter difficulties for the present sanctions imposed by the international community in Pyongyang due to its missile tests. Under this embargo, in the last 12 months no vessel from North Korea can dock in the South; it is therefore likely that North Koreans will travel by land. Another delicate aspect will be the possible presence in the Pyongyang delegation to the Games personalities included on  "black list" for both the UN and Seoul.

Beyond the possible solutions for logistical issues, the dialogue is already garnering consensus among the South Korean public. According to an analysis conducted by Daumsoft, 54% of several million posts published between December 1 and January 9 were critical of North Korea's participation. They ranged from worried comments to opposition "to the very participation of North Korea". The trend changed sharply after January 9: 64% of posts expressed a positive attitude to the North Korean presence at the Olympics. The word frequently repeated in these posts is "welcome".

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