North and South Korea have begun talks on Pyongyang’s plan to send an art troupe to the Winter Olympics taking place next month in the South.
North Korea agreed last week to send a delegation to the Games, easing months of tensions between the neighbours over its nuclear programme.
Seoul then proposed wider talks on Monday about the North’s participation.
But Pyongyang instead offered to discuss just the attendance of its state-run artistic performers.
South Korea had been pushing for the North to be involved in the Games dubbed the “Peace Olympics”, saying it was a chance to improve relations between the two Koreas.
The two sides are meeting in the shared border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ), also known as truce village.
Four delegates from each side were scheduled to attend the talks, with the North’s delegation including Hyon Song-wol, the leader of the popular all-female pop group, the Moranbong Band.
Moranbong: Pyongyang’s propaganda girl band
- Formed in 2012, all band members are reportedly hand-picked by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un himself.
- Their music is a synthesiser-heavy mix of Western classics and Pyongyang propaganda songs including “We Call Him Father” – an ode to Mr Kim.
- The changing line-up is made up of singers and multi-instrumentalists, playing anything from electric guitars to synthesiser, violin and saxophone.
- In 2015, the band was rumoured to have been purged, even executed, when it briefly vanished from public view for several weeks.
The two sides are expected to discuss details including the number of performers, their travel route and schedules, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Last week, during the first high level talks in more than two years between the countries, Pyongyang said it would send athletes, cheerleaders, an art troupe and a taekwondo team to the Winter Olympics taking place from 9-25 February in Pyeongchang.
North and South Korea are set to hold talks with the International Olympics Committee in Switzerland next Saturday to discuss the participation of North Korean athletes at the Games.
South Korea has said that it was pursuing a unified Korean team in women’s hockey with North Korea, but that it had yet to hear back from Pyongyang. It added that it had no plans to push for a joint team in any other sport.
Seoul also proposed last week that athletes from both the North and South march in jointly together at the opening ceremony. North Korea is said to be “positively” considering this.
Only two North Korean athletes currently qualify for the Games – figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik.
North Korea has participated in several Olympics Games before, but not in South Korea. It boycotted the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.