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(LEAD) U.S.: N.K. participation in Olympics an opportunity to see value of denuclearization

All News 01:55 January 10, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, background in last 3 paras)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- The White House said Tuesday that North Korea's participation in the Olympics will be an opportunity for the regime to see the value of getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council made the remark after North Korea agreed to send a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics during high-level inter-Korean talks earlier in the day.

"North Korean participation is an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation by denuclearizing," the spokesperson said in emailed comments to Yonhap on condition of anonymity.

Reuters reported that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce the U.S. delegation to the Olympics soon. Trump committed to sending a high-level delegation during phone talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

The two Koreas met at the border truce village of Panmunjom to mainly discuss the North's participation in the Winter Games slated for Feb. 9-25 in the South's alpine town of PyeongChang. The high-level dialogue -- the first since December 2015 -- was proposed by Seoul after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed a willingness to engage in talks and send a team to the Olympics in his New Year's speech.

Widely hailed as a breakthrough, the meeting also produced an agreement to hold military talks on reducing tensions. North Korea informed the South that it has restored a military communication channel in the west.

hague@yna.co.kr
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