The United States and the United Nations on Tuesday welcomed high-level talks between South and North Korea and the decision by Pyongyang to send a delegation to February's Winter Olympic Games.

"The United States welcomes the January 9 meeting between the Republic of Korea and North Korea aimed at ensuring a safe, secure, and successful Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, referring to South Korea by its formal name.

Separately, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the progress made during Tuesday's talks, particularly an agreement to work to ease military tensions, hold military-to-military talks and reopen the inter-Korean military hotline.

"The re-establishment and strengthening of such channels is critical to lowering the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and to reduce tensions in the region," Guterres said in a statement.

In what became the first official inter-Korean talks in more than two years, North Korea said Tuesday it will send a delegation of high-ranking officials, athletes and cheerleaders to the Olympics in South Korea.

"The holding of the Olympic Games can foster an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and understanding among nations," Guterres said. "This is particularly relevant on the Korean Peninsula and beyond."

He also hoped "such engagement and efforts will contribute to the resumption of sincere dialogue leading to sustainable peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula."

Nauert said the United States is committed to a safe and successful Olympics, and that Washington will send "a high-level presidential delegation" to the event, without elaborating.

South Korea, according to her, will ensure that North Korean participation in the Feb. 9-25 Games "does not violate the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council over North Korea's unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said North Korea's participation "is an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation by denuclearizing."

"I think, certainly, the next steps would be denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (which) is our number one priority, and certainly what we would like to see," Sanders said at a press briefing.

Last week, the two Koreas reopened a communication channel at Panmunjeom, after Pyongyang cut off both lines in February 2016 in protest at Seoul's closure of a joint industrial zone.

The resumption of the channel and Tuesday's talks were in line with a recently adopted U.N. General Assembly resolution that calls for a truce in the lead up to the Olympics.