They said: “The atmosphere for dialogue over inter-Korean ties and North Korea’s nuclear weapons may start from May if the North suspends its nuclear and missile provocations during the Olympics, and Seoul and Washington’s military drills are delayed or scaled down.”
Hopes of a deal have increased in recent days after the Seoul Government said they were considering suspending annual military drills conducted with the US, called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, to reduce tensions.
The Winter Olympics will take place between 9 and 19 of the same month.
The KINU said: “North Korea may accept Seoul’s proposed military talks to prevent accidental military clashes on the occasion of the Olympics.”
The South’s Unification Minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, has expressed cautious optimism the international games could be used as an opportunity to reduce the tensions on the border.
Concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme threatened to overshadow the games, with the US said to be considering whether they should attend.
US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said earlier this month that it remains an “open question” whether to send athletes to the event.
She said: “This is a perfect opportunity for all of them to go and do something they have worked so hard for.
However, she added the US was still looking at whether it was safe to attend the games given the instability surrounding the region given the close proximity of the Olympics to North Korea.
Asked whether she could guarantee the US’s attendance, she said: “There’s an open question.
“I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the US citizens in the area?”
The communist state have recently replaced Choe Ryong-hae as Chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee with Choe Hwi.
Hong Min, a research fellow at the KINU, said: “Choe Ryong-hae is a heavyweight in the North. But Seoul could seek contacts over the Olympics with Choe Hwi, without big political burdens.”