Kim Jong-un has cancelled a joint ‘cultural event’ with South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics, after complaining about ‘biased’ media reports.
The two countries had been due to stage the event at North Korea’s Mount Kumgang on February 4 – just days before the Games in Pyeongchang get underway.
But Pyongyang, which has agreed to send a delegation to the sports extravaganza, has now called off the joint cultural performance blaming ‘insulting’ media coverage, according to Seoul’s unification ministry.
The North said it had no choice but to cancel the event because South Korean media continued to insult what Pyongyang called ‘sincere’ measures regarding the Winter Olympics, the ministry stated.
Kim Jong-un (pictured) has cancelled a joint ‘cultural event’ with South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics, after complaining about ‘biased’ media reports
In a statement, the ministry, which oversees relations with Pyongyang, said: ‘The North, in the notice, said our press was fanning public opinion that insults the North’s sincere efforts made for the Pyeongchang Olympics, and even took issue with the North’s internal celebratory event, leaving the North no choice but to cancel the agreed-upon event.’
Early in January, North and South Korea launched rare talks to bring North Koreans to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after the North’s leader Kim Jong Un said he was willing to open up discussions with Seoul.
The two Koreas had been in discussions regarding final details over the joint performance.
They were also talking about a different concert in South Korea by a North Korean orchestra and sending South Korean athletes to train at a North Korean ski resort.
The North added that the agreement on the Mount Kumgang joint performance had come despite conflict with its internal celebrations, the unification ministry stated.
North Korea has at least two major holidays coming up next month – Kim Jong Il’s birthday and a military founding anniversary.
Seoul and Pyongyang had also pledged to hold joint training sessions at North Korea’s Masik Pass ski resort. A team of South Korean officials (pictured) inspected the facilities last week
Seoul said North Korea’s decision to cancel the joint performance was ‘very regrettable’ and stressed Pyongyang should uphold all agreements made between North and South Korea.
President Moon Jae-in’s administration has faced criticism for its response to North Korea’s participation in the Games, especially after it decided to form a combined women’s ice hockey team with athletes from the two Koreas for the Winter Olympics.
Many South Koreans have complained the unified women’s hockey team – the only such joint team to be formed – was unfair to the South Korean players, going so far as creating over a hundred petitions against the unified team on the presidential Blue House’s website.
The controversy has sent South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s overall approval rating below 60 percent for the first time since he took office in May last year, according to a survey released last week by South Korean pollster Realmeter, dropping more than 6 percentage points since the previous week.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Defence Minister Song Young-moo has warned that Kim Jong-un’s regime will be ‘removed from the global map’ if it opts to use nuclear weapons against either South Korea or the United States.
Song warned it would be ‘suicidal’ for Pyongyang to launch an attack as he insisted Seoul will not drop its guard despite an apparent recent thawing of relations between the North and South.
He said: ‘The North Korean regime will probably be removed from the map if it uses developed nuclear weapons against South Korea or the United States.’