Olympics should lead to nuke discussions - South Korea

Olympics should lead to nuke discussions - South Korea
Photo credit: File

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says more efforts should be made to ensure inter-Korean discussions for the Winter Olympics lead to talks between North Korea and the United States over the North's weapons programs.

South Korea is facing a "precious chance to open the door" for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula, Mr Moon said at a meeting of senior officials at the presidential Blue House on Monday.

"But no one can be optimistic about how long the current mood for dialogue will last", Mr Moon said.

"We need wisdom and efforts to sustain the dialogue opportunities ... beyond the Olympics so that the inter-Korean talks will lead to talks between the United States and North Korea and other forms of dialogue."

Separately, small but vocal groups of South Korean demonstrators protested North Korea's participation in next month's Olympics, as a delegation of North Korean officials led by star singer Hyon Song-wol visited Seoul and inspected Games' venues.

South Korean police intervened when one group of conservative critics burned a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the steps of Seoul's central train station where Hyon and the rest of her team had earlier arrived from Gangwon province, where the Olympics will be held from February 9-25.

In a diplomatic breakthrough after a year of escalating tension over the North's nuclear and missile program, the IOC announced on Saturday that North Korea will send 22 athletes to the Winter Games and compete in three sports and five disciplines.

Some specific Olympic plans, including marching under a unity flag and forming a joint women's ice hockey team, have proven controversial, with criticism coming from both traditional conservative detractors as well as younger South Koreans upset that an unchastened North Korea is stealing the spotlight.

Reuters