UPDATE : 2018.3.19 MON 17:20
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2 Koreas to hold working-level talks this week on details of art troupe's trip

South and North Korea will hold working-level talks this week to work out details on the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympic Games, the unification ministry said Sunday.

The talks to be held on Monday will focus mostly on the North's plan to send an art troupe to the Feb. 9-25 Winter Olympics that South Korea will host in its alpine town of PyeongChang, according to the ministry.

"We have proposed to the North holding the talks at 10 a.m.," a ministry official said. "The detailed schedule will likely be finalized today."

The meeting comes on the heels of their first high-level talks in more than two years on Tuesday in the truce village of Panmunjom where the North offered to send high-ranking officials, cheerleaders, performing artists, taekwondo demonstration teams and journalists in addition to athletes.

On Saturday, the two agreed to hold a working-level meeting to discuss details on Monday at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in Panmunjom.

They are expected to discuss such issues as the size of the North's art troupe, a route by which they will travel southward and detailed performance schedules.

Pyongyang earlier offered to send four arts officials, led by Kwon Hyok-bong, former head of the North's Unhasu Orchestra, who is now director of the performing arts bureau at the culture ministry. The North's delegation also includes Hyon Song-wol, the leader of the all-female Moranbong Band.

South Korea's delegation will be led by Lee Woo-sung, head of the culture and arts policy office at the culture ministry, along with Korean Symphony Orchestra's CEO Lee Won-choul, its artistic director, Chong Chi-yong, and Han Jong-wook, who heads an inter-Korean dialogue division under the unification ministry's Office of Inter-Korean Dialogue.

While agreeing to the talk on the troupe's visit, the unification ministry also called on Pyongyang to quickly respond to Seoul's offer of a separate meeting on North Korea's participation in the Olympics.

During the high-level talks last week, South Korea suggested the two Koreas jointly march during the opening ceremony, but North Korea didn't offer an immediate response. Seoul officials said later that the two were getting closer to an agreement on a joint march. (Yonhap)

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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