Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - World -

SEOUL, South Korea -The ri­val Koreas moved to­ward eas­ing their bit­ter an­i­mos­ity Tues­day dur­ing rare talks, with North Korea agree­ing to take part in next month’s Win­ter Olympics in South Korea. The coun­tries also agreed to hold more dis­cus­sions on re­duc­ing ten­sion along their bor­der and to re­open a mil­i­tary hot­line.

The first meet­ing of its kind be­tween the na­tions in about two years was ar­ranged af­ter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an abrupt push for im­proved ties with South Korea fol­low­ing a year of es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions with the out­side world over his ex­pand­ing nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. Crit­ics say Kim may be try­ing to di­vide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken in­ter­na­tional pres­sure and sanc­tions on the North.

In com­ments that ap­peared to back up those crit­i­cal views, chief North Korean del­e­gate Ri Son Gwon said his coun­try’s nu­clear weapons are aimed at the United States, not South Korea. He made the com­ments while com­plain­ing about what he called in­ac­cu­rate South Korean me­dia re­ports that he said Tues­day’s talks dealt with North Korea’s nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment.

“All our state-of-the-art strate­gic weapons like atomic bombs, hy­dro­gen bombs and in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic rock­ets are com­pletely tar­get­ing the United States. They are not tar­get­ing our com­pa­tri­ots” in the South, Ri said, ac­cord­ing to me­dia footage from the bor­der vil­lage of Pan­munjom, where the talks were held.

De­spite Ri’s com­ments, the agree­ments were still seen to be a pos­i­tive move. Chief South Korean del­e­gate Cho My­oung-gyon de­scribed the ac­cords as a “first step to­ward the de­vel­op­ment of South-North re­la­tions” when he briefed re­porters about the meet­ing.

Ri read what he called a joint state­ment af­ter the talks, un­der which the two Koreas agreed to “ac­tively co­op­er­ate” in the Olympics to “en­hance the pres­tige of the Korean peo­ple.”

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