South Korea on Tuesday proposed high-level talks with North Korea next week to discuss its participation in next month's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon proposed that the two sides meet in the heavily fortified truce village of Panmunjeom on Jan. 9.

The offer comes a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is open to talks with South Korea on its possible participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The olive branch, extended in Kim's nationally televised New Year's address, marked the first time for North Korea to express willingness to take part in the games, to be held Feb. 9-25 in the ski resort town not far from the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

Kim also wished for the success of the event and said the two Koreas should improve relations as 2018 is a "year of significance" for both sides.

"We hope that South and North Korea will sit down to discuss the North's participation in the games and ways to improve inter-Korean ties in a frank manner," Cho said at a press conference, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Cho added that Seoul is prepared to have dialogue with the North "regardless of timing, place and format."

South Korea has previously voice hope of North Korean athletes taking part in the event, with President Moon Jae In even proposing last year that the two sides field a unified Korean delegation.