Representatives from North and South Korea began working-level talks Monday to discuss a North Korean performing arts group's visit to South Korea next month for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.
During their third day of talks at the border in about a week, senior officials reached a package of agreements including fielding a joint women's ice hockey team and marching together under a "unification flag" depicting their peninsula during the opening ceremony, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.
Details about the national spirit squad emerged as delegations from North and South Korea meet at the Peace House in the border village of Panmunjom to discuss the pariah regime's inclusion in the games.
The countries agreed that a top North Korean arts troupe, known as the Samjiyon Band, will give rare performances in South Korea during the Winter Games.
Last week, during the first face-to-face talks with Seoul since 2015, North Korea pledged to send a delegation of athletes and high-level officials to Pyeongchang for the Games which take place from February 9 to 25.
The possibility of the participation of joint teams formed by athletes from South Korea and North Korea will reportedly be on the meeting's agenda.
Similar to the possibility of an upcoming joint women's hockey team, Kim said.North and South Korea competed as one team in a 1991 table-tennis championship.
The statement also criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in's new year speech last week, in which he said U.S. President Donald Trump deserved "big credit" for inter-Korean talks. A website of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, which serves as North Korea's contact organization to South Korea, issued its opinion on Monday.
"At this time, ill-boding remarks chilling the atmosphere for reconciliation are heard from South Korea, upsetting the people", the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English dispatch as reported by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during a meeting on North Korea in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. "We hope that ties can open", he added.
A South Korean official tried to respond to the fears Wednesday.
A pair of North Korean figure skaters qualified for this year's Olympics, but North Korea missed a deadline to confirm their participation. The North is still considering the offer. South and North Korea reached this agreement during a working-level meeting at the Tongilgak (Unification Pavilion) on the North Korean side of Panmunjeom on January 15 that was held to arrange a visit to South Korea by a group of North Korean artists. They say they will retire after the Games in Pyeongchang.
Critics say the North may aim to divide Seoul and Washington as a way to weaken US-led global pressures and sanctions on the country.
The women worked in a North Korean restaurant in China before they defected in April 2016.