China supports South Korea and North Korea improving ties and easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula at the South Korean Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February, China's foreign ministry said Tuesday.
"We have noticed active signals sent by leaders from North Korea and South Korea on improving ties and North Korea may participate in the Winter Olympic Games. This is a good thing. China welcomes and supports the two sides taking the opportunity to make efforts at improving ties, easing tensions on the peninsula and realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing on Tuesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year speech on Monday that he would consider sending a delegation to the games. Kim also said that he was ready to hold immediate discussions with the South about it, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
In response to Kim's speech, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a televised press conference on Tuesday that South Korea proposed to North Korea holding a senior-level inter-governmental dialogue on January 9 at Peace House in Panmunjom, a building in Panmunjom controlled by South Korea.
Cho anticipated the two Koreas would frankly discuss issues of mutual concern to improve inter-Korean relations as well as the issue of North Korean participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
If realized, the reinitiated talks would mark the first inter-Korean dialogue since the Moon Jae-in cabinet was sworn in May. The last inter-Korean dialogue was held in December 2015 for the meeting of vice ministerial-level officials.