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Korea orchestra to perform in S. Korea during Winter Games

Korea orchestra to perform in S. Korea during Winter Games

Despite tensions on the Korean peninsula temporarily cooling as the Winter Olympic games approach, North Korea has made it clear throughout diplomatic talks with their neighbor to the South that they are unwilling to discuss a dismantling of their nuclear program.

The North has said its delegation to the February 9-25 Games in Pyeongchang would include an art troupe along with officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and a taekwondo demonstration team.

South Korean sports ministry spokesman Hwang Seong Un said the two Koreas have been discussing the make-up of a unified women's hockey team since a year ago when the North's International Olympic Committee representative, Chang Ung, visited South Korea along with his country's taekwondo demonstration team. North Korea apparently is also sending a delegation to represent the county at the South Korea sports celebration.

Before the second round of Olympic talks began, reports from the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) suggested that officials from the North will travel by bus to South Korea.

Tensions have also been high due to North Korea's frequent ballistic missile tests.

They said: "The two Koreas have marched at nine games so far, and the world gave its blessing to the two Koreas".

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"I don't think we can raise the North Korean national flag when we are invited to a sporting event in Pyongyang", former Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said in a media interview.

Just ahead of Monday's meeting, North Korea issued a statement criticising South Korea's President Moon Jae-in for praising Trump's role in helping re-open talks. Critics question how long the warmer mood can last without any serious discussion on the North's nuclear disarmament.

If they come to South Korea, they could perform in Seoul or Gangneung, though it remains to be seen whether they will agree to cut out the martial aspects of their show.

"The present South Korean chief executive's attitude casts doubt as to his intent to improve the North-South ties and build confidence", it said.

According to NBC, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on Monday that if North Korea attacks, Washington will prove it has military options though "within a framework of strengthening the diplomat's hands". Along with the Unhasu Orchestra and the Moranbong Band, the Samjiyon Band has reportedly received acclaim throughout North Korea for its flashy attire and stage presence since the late 2000s. "The South Korean authorities had better ponder over what unfavorable results may be entailed by their impolite behavior". The North last sent such a group in 2002, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry. Given Moranbong Band leader Hyun Song-wol's attendance at the working-level meeting, some analysts expect that she will lead the band on its trip to South Korea.

There is also speculation that the Moranbong band, the young North Korean despot's favorite female propaganda pop band, will also attend, although the groups participation has not yet been officially announced.

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