South Korean skiers depart for joint training event in North

by Abel Hampton February 1, 2018, 0:13
South Korean skiers depart for joint training event in North

"I'll be far busier when the village opens on Thursday as there will be a rush of athletes", Kim, who brought South Korea its first Winter Olympic gold medal in 1992 at Albertville, said.

South Korean Minister of Unification Cho Myoung Gyon assured that the parade would not interfere with joint Olympic efforts, describing it as an "internal North Korean event".

A ministry official confirmed that a delegation of 45 skiers, officials and reporters from the South would travel to the North that day for a two-day training session, as initially planned. The visit earlier this month of a prominent band leader to inspect artistic venues in the South was delayed by North Korea but eventually took place. South Korea held discussions with the United States until the last minute to ensure the trip wouldn't violate USA sanctions against the North.

Russia's Skaters Union (RSU) chief Alexei Kravtsov said that the federation will support any decision by athletes over participation in the 2018 Olympics. Ha, the lead vocalist of the popular indie rock band, rose to prominence a year ago in South Korea after appearing on the popular television show King Of Masked Singer.

Wednesday's flight was the first direct South Korean flight to North Korea since 2015, when South Korean labor unionists flew to Pyongyang for a goodwill soccer match with North Korean workers, the ministry said.

North Korea called off the joint cultural performance, which had been scheduled for February 4, late on Monday, blaming South Korean media for encouraging "insulting" public sentiment.

Others think the North called off the event as a response to a remark by South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, who at a forum in Singapore on Monday said North Korea would be wiped off the map if it used its nuclear weapons. South Korea was planning to ship 10,000 liters of diesel over the border to power generators at Mount Kumgang, the South's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported - a move that runs counter to sanctions limiting oil exports to the North.

Many South Koreans have complained that the unified women's hockey team - the only such joint team to be formed - was unfair to the South Korean players. The Kalma Airport on North Korea's eastern coast was the launch site for multiple midrange missile tests in 2016.


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