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(LEAD) Two Koreas agree on dates, venues for N. Korea's art performances

2018/01/24 11:57

(ATTN: ADDS more comments in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has agreed to North Korea's recent offer on the dates and venues for the North's planned art performances to celebrate next month's Winter Olympic Games, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the North informed the Seoul government that its art troupe will hold performances at Gangneung Arts Center in Gangneung on Feb. 8 and the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on Feb. 11.

The move came after its delegation, led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the Samjiyon Orchestra, returned home on Monday after a two-day trip here to inspect candidate venues for performances.

"We delivered our agreement verbally through communication channels at the truce village of Panmunjom with regard to the North's art troupe performances," Baik Tae-hyun, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

"(We) are making complete and thorough relevant preparations."

   In recent weeks, the two Koreas held a series of inter-Korean meetings on the North's participation in the Feb. 9-25 Olympics, which will be held in the eastern town of PyeongChang. The North now plans to send an art troupe consisting of around 140 orchestra members, singers and dancers.

The North earlier said that the art troupe will use the western land route to travel to the South on Feb. 6 and return home on Feb. 12.

Meanwhile, Baik noted that the North deserves to be treated according to its status as a country participating in the Olympics.

He made the remarks in response to a question about the government's stance on some conservatives burning the North's national flag and a picture of its leader, Kim Jong-un, in protest of the North's participation in the sporting event.

With regard to speculation that the North is preparing a military parade on a newly designated army founding day, on Feb. 8, a day before the Olympics' opening, Baik said that the main spirit of the Olympics is peace.

"The government will do its utmost in collaboration with our people and the international community to make the PyeongChang Olympics a chance to advance peace on the Korean Peninsula, and global peace and cooperation," he said.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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