South Korea has approved an estimated US$2.64 million to foot the bill for North Korea's Olympics expenses.
The sum of money will serve as the budget for the cost for hosting some 424 people from the North who are visiting to attend or participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The final figure for the total payment will be disclosed at a later time, according to ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun.
The Ministry of Unification detailed that the expenses include the costs of the visit, accommodation and food for North Korea's cheering squad, orchestra, taekwondo performers as well as journalists and support personnel.
“The Olympics have become a chance for the North to communicate with the international community," said South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon.
"This could further pave the way for the discussion to build and sustain peace on the peninsula."
Approximately US$1.8 million will be spent on food, accommodation and venue fees, the official said. The minister said US$930 of the budget will go towards transportation costs. The budget for the North Koreans' stay will come from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund.
A separate government budget covered the costs of hosting North Korean high-level officials, included Kim Yo Jong – the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Baik stated. While the International Olympics Committee is paying the way for 22 North Korean athletes in South Korea.
Most of the North Koreans stayed at luxury hotels in Seoul and near the Olympic venue, including the five-star Grand Walkerhill in western Seoul.
In 2002, over 600 North Koreans cost the South's government US$1.26 million for the Asian Games in Busan.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in extended the invitation to North Korea athletes, supporters and officials cool tensions that have been mounting on the peninsula.
There have been months of unease and unpleasantries exchanged, all involving Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington regarding North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.