This week the US and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.
US President Donald Trump said at the weekend he hoped the rare talks between the two Koreas would go "beyond the Olympics" and that Washington could join the process at a later stage.
"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" But such symbols of reduced animosity would receive widespread attention at Pyeongchang after a year of heightened nuclear tensions during which Kim and Trump traded threats of nuclear war and crude personal attacks.
Chang Ung, Pyongyang's sole International Olympic Committee member, said in a meeting with reporters in an airport in Beijing that his country is "likely to participate" in the Winter Games slated for February 9-25, according to foreign news reports.
But North Korea, which is weak in winter sports, now has no athletes qualified to participate in the Pyeonghang Games.
They also discussed ways to bring North Korea to the dialogue table for meaningful talks.
While it is possible that the two Koreas will agree on the North's participation in the Olympics, they are likely to differ sharply over other issues relating to how to improve ties.
A veteran negotiator in inter-Korean affairs, he has participated in talks with North Korea since the 1990s, including their last summit in 2007.
March 8, 2016U.S. & South Korean troops are participating in exercise #FoalEagle.
Hayley stressed during the interview that USA tension with North Korea is a "serious situation, and [Kim] can't sit there and imply that he's going to destroy the United States without us reminding him of the facts and the reality that if you go there, it's not us that's going to be detroyed, it's you".
The drills' suspension is something that South Korea can not accept in consideration of its relations with the USA, its main ally, which is seeking increased pressure and sanctions on the North. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has insisted the delay is a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture.
The government of liberal President Moon Jae-in has expressed hope that the North's participation will ease tensions on the divided peninsula, which have flared up due to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.
This photo, taken January 8, 2018, shows Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.