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N. Korea offers talks on sending art troupe to Olympics

© AFP | North Korea has confirmed it will attend next month's Olympics in the South

SEOUL (AFP) - 

North Korea has proposed talks next week to discuss its plan to send a performing art troupe to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Seoul's unification ministry said Saturday.

The North confirmed it would attend next month's Olympics in the South at a rare inter-Korean meeting last week, following months of tensions over its nuclear weapons programme.

The ministry said the hermit state is apparently keen to discuss logistics of the performers' trip to the South before planning its athletes and supporters' attendance at the Games.

"It appears that the North wants to discuss various practical matters related to an art troupe's visit as a priority," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the government would respond after reviewing the North's proposal.

Hyon Song-Wol, leader of the popular Moranbong band, is one of four North Korean delegates set to attend the talks in the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday.

The Moranbong band is an all-female music group performing pop, rock and fusion styles, whose members are reportedly selected by the leader Kim Jong-Un himself.

It comes a day after South Korea's vice sports minister Roh Tae-Kang said the South had proposed marching with North Korea at the Olympics' opening ceremony and also forming a joint women's ice hockey team during the high-level talks which took place on Tuesday.

A joint march at the opening ceremony would be a stunning statement for the so-dubbed "Peace Olympics", which will open about 50 miles (80 kilometres) from the heavily fortified Korean border on February 9.

North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, meaning Pyeongchang will be the first Olympics they have attended in the South.

© 2018 AFP