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Photographers take photographs of a giant inflatable ball bearing the logo of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Incheon, South Korea, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji


TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea's representative at the International Olympic Committee said the country expects to send a figure skating pair to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea next month, Japan's Kyodo News reported on Saturday.

Chang Ung, a North Korean IOC member, told reporters at Beijing's International Airport that the North Korean pair "will probably participate," the news agency said.

Chang arrived in Beijing from Pyongyang and is believed to be headed to Switzerland to discuss with the IOC North Korea's participation in the games, Kyodo reported, citing an unnamed source.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's Day speech that he would consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics.

Following the speech, North Korea on Wednesday reopened a long-closed border hotline with South Korea for talks.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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