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North Korea reportedly will send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea


North Korea has agreed to send athletes to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, according to The New York Times.

The Times on Tuesday reported that the decision marks a symbolic breakthrough following months of rising tensions over North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Tuesday’s agreement was reached in Panmunjom, a village along the border separating North Korea from its southern neighbor.

Cho Myoung-gyon, who is South Korea’s cabinet minister in charge of relations with the North, represented his nation in Tuesday’s talks.

Ri Son-Kwon is Cho’s North Korean counterpart, and he served as Pyongyang’s representative during Tuesday’s discussions.

South Korean media outlets reported that North Korean negotiators on Tuesday quickly agreed to send a large delegation to next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

North Korea will also send a cheering squad and a performance-art troupe to the sporting month in February.

The Olympics in Pyeongchang mark the first winter edition of the contest North Korea has participated in since 2010.

North Korea has competed in every Summer Olympics since 1972, except the 1984 version in Los Angeles and the 1988 one in Seoul, South Korea, both of which it boycotted.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is excited for North Korea’s return to the event, and the organization has previously pledged to help cover its athletes’ expenses in Pyeongchang.

North Korea’s only athletes to qualify for the games are a pairs figure skating team, but the IOC has said it remains willing to consider wild-card entries for other sports.

Tempers have repeatedly flared between the U.S. and North Korea over the latter’s quest for nuclear weapons since last year.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spent much of 2017 trading verbal barbs amid global fears the situation could escalate into conflict.

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