N Korea names delegates for inter-Korean talks

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a new year's day speech in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on January 1, 2018. Photo: ReutersNorth Korea has for its delegation a uniquely high-level meeting with the South, said the unification ministry in Seoul said Sunday, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cautiously welcomed the talks.The two Koreas agreed Friday to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years and South Korea in the next month's Winter Olympics in North's participation.The North Korean delegation for Tuesday's meeting in the border truce village of Panmunjom will be led by Re Son-Gwon, the head of the North's agency handling the inter-Korean affairs, the ministry said.Pyongyang informed the South that four other officers will accompany ri, it added, including those in charge of sports.The tentative rapprochement comes after the North's leader Kim Jong-un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but also said Pyongyang could send a team to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.Seoul responded with a message about the hotline between the neighbors.The message comes a day after South Korea suggested unification minister Cho Myoung-Gyon will lead the upcoming talks.Kim said in his new year speech that his country wished success for the Olympics, to be held from February 9-25, while Seoul and Washington have decided to delay their annual joint military drills - which are always the North-infuriate. GamesThe Japanese Prime Minister voiced cautious hopes for talks but stressed that having a meeting for a waste"The Olympics is a celebration of peace. I want to recognize that change," Abe said in a recorded interview aired Sunday on national broadcaster NHK.His comments came as US President Donald Trump went on a step further and said he was open to holding direct talks.The two Koreas have been separated by the world's most heavily militarized border since the Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953.In recent months, the North has held multiple missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test - the purportedly of a hydrogen bomb - in UN resolutions of violation.Abe, who has taken the hawkish stance against the hermit state, said Japan must upgrade its defence capacity in the face of the North's missile threats.He reiterated the importance of "maximising pressure" on Pyongyang in order to force Kim's regime to change his policies and said, "We can not afford to be fooled again."

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