The Latest: NKorea won't impact US participation at Olympics

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2018 4:17 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the border talks between North and South Korea (all times local):

6:10 a.m.

The White House says North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics won't affect U.S. participation in the Games.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders adds that the decision presents North Korea with an opportunity to see the value of ending its isolation from the rest of the world. The U.S. and other world powers want North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Sanders says members of a U.S. delegation that will attend the Winter Olympics will be announced soon.

The Games are scheduled for Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Senior State Department official Steve Goldstein says the U.S. is encouraged North Korea is sending athletes and supporters to the Games. He says, "anything that lowers tensions is a positive development."

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4:20 a.m.

The United States is consulting with South Korean officials to ensure North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics does not violate U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons.

That's according to a State Department statement after rare talks Tuesday between the two Koreas. The North agreed to take part in next month's games in the South, and the two countries also agreed to hold more discussions on easing tension along their border, and to reopen a military hotline.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert welcomed the inter-Korean meeting which she said was "aimed at ensuring a safe, secure, and successful" Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Since the talks were announced last week, the Trump administration has given a mixed response, amid concerns North Korea is seeking to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its close South Korean ally.

Nauert said President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed last week to continue the campaign of "maximum pressure" on North Korea to get it to give up its nukes.

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3:55 a.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming progress during talks between the two Koreas, especially their agreement to work to ease military tensions, hold military-to-military talks and to reopen a military hotline.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says "the re-establishment and strengthening of such channels is critical to lowering the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and to reduce tensions in the region."

He says in a statement Tuesday that Guterres also welcomes North Korea's decision to send a delegation to the Olympic Winter Games.

Dujarric says the secretary-general believes the U.N. General Assembly resolution which says the Olympics "can foster an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and understanding among nations ... is particularly relevant on the Korean Peninsula and beyond."

He says Guterres also hopes that "other efforts" to reduce tensions — which he did not identify — "will contribute to the resumption of sincere dialogue leading to sustainable peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula."