The only woman negotiating on Kim Jong-un's behalf

A new round of talks between North and South Korea took place on Monday to further discuss Pyongyang’s participation in the Winter Olympic Games, starting in less than a month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Delegations from the two countries met at North Korea’s Tongilgak building in the truce village of Panmunjom. Each delegation was led by officials of the country’s respective culture ministries, but the only woman at the table—the first one to be included at the inter-Korean talks that began on January 9—featured on North Korea’s side.

The delegations from North and South Korea arrive for their meeting at the North's building in the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea. Hyon Song Wol can be seen behind Kwon Hyok Bong, director of the Arts and Performance Bureau in North Korea's Culture Ministry.

Hyon Song Wol arrives at a hotel in Beijing after a Moranbong Band rehearsal on December 11, 2015. Hyon Song Wol, Pyongyang's deputy chief delegate to the talks, is one of the most well-known women in North Korea and the leader of all-female musical group Moranbong Band, created in 2012 by order of leader Kim Jong Un and the closest thing the country has to a pop music ensemble to rival the South’s world-famous K-pop genre.

Among the four-member delegation, Hyon held the highest political status, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, since she sits in the ruling party's central committee, an influential position to which Kim promoted her in October.

Hyon, believed to be in her 30s, has been a figure in North Korea’s rumor mills for years. Stories suggested she was romantically involved with Kim before he married his wife Ri Sol Ju, herself a former performer and a member of North Korea’s cheer squad known as the “army of beauties” in South Korean media.

However, the rumors seem unsubstantiated as they appear to originate from 2012 media reports mistakenly identifying Ri as Hyon in a picture featuring her with Kim. Other unconfirmed reports in South Korea’s defector media outlet Daily NK dismissed reports of a relationship between Hyon and Kim, claiming Hyon was instead Kim’s father Kim Jong Il’s last mistress.

Hyon made international headlines again in 2013, when reports claimed she had been executed for violating the country’s pornography law. reported at the time.

Hyon’s fame has surpassed North Korea’s borders, as she led the Moranbong Band in a visit to China where they were due to perform in December 2015. e performance was abruptly cancelled for unspecified reasons, although Reuters reported at the time that Chinese authorities objected to some of the band's anti-American lyrics.

a group of people posing for the camera: <span style="font-size:13px;">&nbsp;North Korea's all-female Moranbong Band perform in Pyongyang on May 11, 2016. (</span><span style="font-size:13px;">Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)</span>

North Korea's all-female Moranbong Band perform in Pyongyang on May 11, 2016.

It remains unclear whether the band will be sent to South Korea to perform in Pyeonchang. On Monday, the two delegations discussed dispatching North Korea's 140-member orchestra to perform in South Korea, Yonhap reported, quoting Seoul's unification ministry, noting this would be the first North Korean performance in the country since 2002.

The two sides plan to discuss details including the venue, stage conditions and other matters through consultations," a joint statement quoted in Yonhap read. In this regard, the North will send an advanced team at an early date.

Read more...

Bonhomie Saves Spike Deal

Bonhomie Saves Spike Deal

The India-Israel deal for the Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile, which was scrapped over cost and technology transfer issues, is back on track after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu held extensive talks on Monday to strengthen ties in the strategic areas of Defence and counter-terrorism. A total of nine

Read more...

India, Pak. NSAs Met 4 Times, Keep Phone Links Live: Officials

India, Pak. NSAs Met 4 Times, Keep Phone Links Live: Officials

Talks in Russia, Thailand not disrupted by acrimonious public statements

Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisors Ajit Doval and Gen. (Retd) Naseer Janjua have been meeting and speaking on the telephone more regularly than they have officially confirmed. They held at least three meetings in Bangkok, and one in Russia, sources in Delhi and

Read more...

SKorea, NKorea to hold working-level talks Jan 15

SKorea, NKorea to hold working-level talks Jan 15

North Korea and South Korea have agreed to hold working-level talks at the Tongil Pavilion on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom on Jan 15, South Korea’s unification ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The delegation, to be led by an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will be sent to hold talks on the prospects of North Korea sending its performance art group to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the unification ministry said in a statement.

Inter-Korean talks are held alternately at the Peace House, which is on the South Korean side of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone, and Tongil Pavilion in the North.

The ministry said earlier on Saturday that North Korea had proposed holding talks on Jan 15 about the matter.

In addition, the ministry also requested for a quick response for South Korea’s proposal on Jan 12 to have working-level talks about the North’s participation in Pyongchang winter Olympics,” added the ministry.

Officials from North and South earlier this week said they had agreed to hold negotiations to resolve problems and avert accidental conflict, after their first official dialogue in more than two years amid high tension over the North’s weapons programme.

South Korea had also said that it is seeking to form a combined women’s hockey team with the North. The North Korea’s International Olympics Committee (IOC) official said the committee is considering the proposal, while the two sides will also have talks hosted by IOC on Jan 20.

In a joint statement after 11 hours of talks on Tuesday, North and South Korea said they had agreed to hold military to military talks and that North Korea would send a large delegation to next month’s Winter Olympics.

Washington welcomed as a first step to solving the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis, even though Pyongyang said those were aimed only at the United States and not up for discussion.

Read more...

Boxed in talks to be acquired by Kroger for $500 million

Boxed in talks to be acquired by Kroger for $500 million

New York-based Boxed, the startup for buying food and household items in bulk, is in talks to be acquired by Kroger for about $500 million. Other retailers are also expected to be making bids.

The news was first reported by Forbes and confirmed to TechCrunch by a source with knowledge of the situation. We’re hearing that the company is aiming to m

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed