World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea has named its delegation for a rare high-level meeting with the South this week, the unification ministry in Seoul said Sunday, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cautiously welcomed the talks.
The North Korean delegation for Tuesday's meeting in the border truce village of Panmunjom will be led by Ri Son-Gwon, head of the North's agency handling inter-Korean affairs, the ministry said.
Pyongyang informed the South that four other officials 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 an offer of talks and last week the hotline between the neighbours was restored after being suspended for almost two years.
The message comes a day after South Korea suggested Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon would lead its delegation for 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 always infuriate the North -- until after the Games.
The Japanese prime minister voiced cautious hopes for the talks but stressed that having a meeting for the sake of a meeting would be a waste.
"The Olympics is a celebration of peace. I want to recognise that change," Abe said in a recorded interview aired Sunday on national broadcaster NHK.
His comments came as US President Donald Trump went a step further and said he was open to holding direct talks with Kim under certain conditions.
The two Koreas have been separated by the world's most heavily militarised 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 -- purportedly of a hydrogen bomb -- in violation of UN resolutions.
Abe, who long has taken 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 its policies and said North Korea had violated past agreements designed to stop its nuclear programmes, adding: "We cannot afford to be fooled again."
Last month, Hague-based tribunal called for campaign to support ‘victims of situation in Palestine’
Israel closed Kerem Shalom crossing last month over the launch of arson balloons from Gaza
The dead included an unspecified number of Venezuelans and Colombians, whose embassies were notified of the accident outside Quito, they said.
Products include cars, rice, some alcohol and tobacco products, cosmetic products like sun creams
The government of the economically-ravaged country has for many years heavily subsidized petrol and Maduro says this has now led to a voracious black market in oil smuggled to neighbouring countries.
Iraqi premier will meet Turkish President Erdogan during the visit
US to strengthen military 'like never ever before,' Trump says of $716B bill
Some 69 children were among those arrested by Israel last month
The militant was convicted of killing a number of police and army personnel in Nineveh province
If US officials confirm "the offer for the FBI to investigate links in Florida with the assassination plan... I would agree for the FBI to come here," Maduro said at an event with top military leaders late on Saturday.
Move comes after US re-imposed first round of economic sanctions on Iran, targeting country’s banking sector
Move comes few days after Pakistan, Russia signed agreement for military officers’ training
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March
Clothing retailer’s advertising campaign on YouTube receives more than 1 million hits
Officer Mike Moore tells group of African Americans 'you don’t belong in my city'