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Kim Jong Un's game in joining Winter Olympics in S. Korea

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The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan

It's not as if there has been concrete progress towards resolving the issue of North Korea's nuclear and missile development. The international community must not loosen the net encircling North Korea both militarily and economically.

South Korea and North Korea held a ministerial-level meeting and agreed that the two countries will cooperate to ensure the success of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. North Korea will send a delegation consisting of athletes, high-ranking officials and a cheering squad, while South Korea will provide necessary services.

The accords also include the holding of talks on reducing tension, to be attended by officials. North Korea has reportedly notified South Korea of its restoration of a military communication line with South Korea. It is important to reduce the danger of accidental conflict.

Emphasising the shared ethnicity of the two countries, both also agreed on a policy of continuing senior official-level meetings.

It can be considered that Mr Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, has put into full gear a strategy of winning over South Korea by playing its "Olympic participation" card. It was the first formal talks in almost two years between the two Koreas.

Without a doubt, North Korea is aiming at driving a wedge between the United States and South Korea, by appealing to the idea of reconciliation between the two Koreas. Sanctions on North Korea, such as trade restrictions on refined petroleum products, have had an effect. Pyongyang may also ask Seoul for economic cooperation and for a relaxation of sanctions in the inter-Korean meetings in the days ahead.

Something to be wary of is the fact that when the South Korean side proposed holding talks with regard to the denuclearisation of North Korea, a representative of the North Korean side rejected it flatly.

Members of the South Korean air force Black Eagle aerobatic team performing above the ski jump venue of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics earlier this week. North Korea is sending a delegation consisting of athletes, high-ranking officials and a cheering squad to........

© The Straits Times