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(LEAD) Koreas to hold talks next week on N.K's participation in Paralympics

2018/02/23 16:38

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SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea agreed Friday to hold working-level talks next week to discuss the North's participation in the 2018 Winter Paralympics, which will be held in the South next month, Seoul officials said.

The two sides will meet Tuesday at the northern side of the inter-Korean border to discuss details of the North's participation in the March 9-18 games, according to South Korea's unification ministry.

At last month's inter-Korean talks, the North agreed to send a 150-member delegation to the Paralympics.

Seoul will send a three-member delegation led by Lee Joo-tae, a director-general in charge of inter-Korean exchanges at the ministry, to the upcoming talks, it added.

The two Koreas have engaged in a flurry of sports diplomacy since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed a willingness to send a delegation to the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in his New Year's message.

The North has dispatched nearly 500 people, including athletes, musicians and cheerleaders to the Olympics.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told lawmakers Thursday that former North Korean table tennis player Ri Pun-hui, a ranking official at the North's governing body for the Paralympics, could come to the South.

South Korean table tennis player Hyun Jung-hwa played doubles matches with Ri against China when the two Koreas fielded joint teams at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships.