North Korea and South Korea have agreed to resume formal high-level talks, the South Korean media reported.
The talks between the two countries had been suspended since February 2014.
The agreement came during a surprise visit to South Korea by North Korean officials for the closing ceremony of the Asian Games in Incheon.
The visit was led by two top-ranking North Korean officials seen as close aides to leader Kim Jong-un.
Both sides were said to have agreed to meet again within the next few weeks.
Hwang Pyong-so, seen as the second-most powerful man in North Korea, held talks with Ryoo Kihl-jae, the South’s reunification minister, on October 4 after flying to Incheon to attend the sporting event.
Hwang Pyong-so, seen as the second-most powerful man in North Korea, held talks with Ryoo Kihl-jae, the South’s reunification minister
He is the top political officer at the Korean People’s Army.
The other two members of the North’s delegation were Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang-gon – key members of the ruling Workers’ Party.
It is not known what was discussed at the meeting and neither party has commented publicly on the talks.
Relations between North Korea and South Korea have been practically non-existent for four years, but the North’s economic troubles seem to have forced a change of tack.
The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-53 conflict was ended with a truce.
The surprise meeting comes amid ongoing speculation about the health of Kim Jong-un.
Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. A recent official documentary showed him overweighed and limping.
A delegation of three senior North Korean officials arrived in South Korea for the closing ceremony of this year’s Asian Games.
The North Korean visit in South Korea is seen as a rare opportunity for high-level talks.
The North Korean team is led by Hwang Pyong-so, who is considered to be the second most important official after leader Kim Jong-un.
Hwang Pyong-so is expected to meet South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae and a senior security adviser.
The visit comes as speculation continues about the health of Kim Jong-un.
Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. A recent official documentary showed him limping and being overweight.
Hwang Pyong-so is considered to be the second most important official in North Korea after leader Kim Jong-un (photo AP)
The three North Korean officials arrived in the city of Incheon – the venue of the Asian Games.
They will take part in the closing ceremony of the major sporting event later on Saturday, October 4.
They are also expected to hold talks over lunch with Ryoo Kihl-jae and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin before returning home.
Hwang Pyong-so is the top political officer at the Korean People’s Army. The other two officials are Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang-gon – key members of the ruling Workers’ Party.
Despite that harsh rhetoric of recent years, the visit indicates a desire for economically-pressed North Korea to have closer relations with the South.
The visit has also caused speculation about Kim Jong-un, who has been absent from public view for a month.
What the closest members of his inner circle tell the South Korean government will be analyzed to try to discern the health and views of Kim Jong-un back in Pyongyang.
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North Korean weightlifter Om Yun Chol has set a clean and jerk world record after lifting 170 kg in the men’s 56-kg class at this year’s Asian Games.
Om Yun Chol, the 2012 Olympic champion and 2013 world champion, beat his own world record on September 20 by 1kg to win North Korea’s first gold medal at the games, a regional version of the Olympics.
North Korean weightlifter Om Yun Chol has set a clean and jerk world record after lifting 170 kg in the men’s 56-kg class at this year’s Asian Games (photo Reuters)
He also had a combined total of 298 kg to mark an Asian Games record after lifting 128 kg in the snatch.
North Korea has 150 athletes competing in 14 sports at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
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North Korea has decided to stop sending cheerleaders to South Korea for Asian Games 2014, which would have been the first such trip in almost 10 years.
Pyongyang had said a group would accompany athletes taking part in the 16th Asian Athletics Championships in September in the South Korean city of Incheon.
However, it changed its mind because South Korea had appeared to be “displeased”.
North Korea accused the South of quibbling over details, and of viewing the group as a political propaganda tool.
“The South side took issue with the scale of the cheerleading squad and the size of the flag of the DPRK [North Korea],” a statement carried by KCNA news agency said.
North Korea has decided to stop sending cheerleaders to South Korea for Asian Games 2014
The statement said the South “finally raised even the issue of expenses which the North side had never mentioned, bringing the talks to a rupture”.
South Korea said it was disappointed at the “unilateral” move and said it hoped Pyongyang would change its mind.
The squad of dozens of young women performing synchronized moves traditionally attracts attention in South Korea.
Cheerleaders last came in 2005 for the Asian Athletics Championships, also held in Incheon.
That contingent was made up of 101 cheerleaders, including – reports say – Ri Sol-ju who went on to marry North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
Tension remains high between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
Pyongyang is widely believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons’ development and has carried out three nuclear tests, most recently in 2013.
North Korea traditionally alternates threats and olive branches towards its southern neighbor.
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For the first time in nearly a decade, North Korea will send cheerleaders to South Korea for the Asian Games, state news agency KCNA reports.
The cheerleaders will accompany athletes taking part in the Asian Games in September at the South Korean city of Incheon.
The cheerleaders and athletes are being sent to “improve relationships” between the North and South, according to a statement reported by KCNA.
For the first time in nearly a decade, North Korea will send cheerleaders to South Korea for the Asian Games
North Korea last sent cheerleaders in 2005 for the Asian Athletics Championships, also held in Incheon.
That contingent was made up of 101 cheerleaders, including Ri Sol-ju who went on to marry North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, according to Reuters news agency.
North Korea has so far sent cheerleaders to South Korea only three times since the Korean War.
The Communist country said on Monday that its decision to send cheerleaders again would “create an atmosphere” of reconciliation.
“Our sincere decision this time will melt the frozen North-South relations with the heat of national reconciliation while displaying the entire Korean people’s will of unification in and outside [of the peninsula],” said the statement.
The 2014 Asian Games, officially known as the XVII Asiad, is the largest sporting event in Asia governed by Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The event is scheduled to take place in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 – October 4, 2014, with 439 events in 36 sports and discipline set to feature in the Games.