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North Korea agrees to send athletes to Winter Olympics, South says

2018-01-10 09:49:44       source:The Washington Post

January 9, 2018

SEOUL — North Korea’s representatives assured the South Korean government Tuesday that the country’s “cutting-edge” nuclear weapons are aimed only at the United States, not at its neighbors, as they struck a deal to send athletes to next month’s Winter Olympics and to reopen a military hotline.

The sobering words underscored how, despite the rare agreement with the South, Pyongyang continues to assert its right to fend off the United States with nuclear arms.

Nevertheless, South Korea achieved its immediate goal of bringing North Korean athletes to compete in what Seoul has dubbed the “peace games.” South Korean officials portrayed this agreement as a first step in a significant improvement in bilateral relations. The question, analysts said, is whether the North will pursue this opening with any sincerity.

South Korea signaled that it was willing to suspend some of its direct sanctions on North Korea to facilitate a Northern delegation’s travel to the Olympics, which will open Feb. 9 in the South’s PyeongChang region.

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