The government said Tuesday it has agreed with Hungary to open permanent missions, the first diplomatic relations between South Korea and a communist nation.

The move to normalize relations stopped short of full diplomatic recognition, but South Korean officials said they expected the two nations to establish diplomatic ties in the near future.The Seoul government is hoping the Olympic Games, which begin in Seoul on Saturday, will play a major role in helping to open relations with communist nations.

South Korea has no relations with communist nations because of its bitter rivalry with communist North Korea. The North has opposed any ties between communist nations and South Korea.