North Korean skiers and skaters arrived on Thursday in South Korea to take part in the Winter Olympics.
The agreement to go ahead with their participation brought a temporary diminution in tensions caused by the North’s nuclear programme.
The 32-member delegation led by North Korean Vice Sports Minister Won Kil U includes 10 athletes who were invited to compete in the alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating and shot-track speed skating events.
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The North Korean delegation found time to give an appreciative wave to numerous reporters awaiting their arrival in the South
he North Korean delegation was accompanied by a heavy police presence and will go straight to the athletes’ village in Gangneung
It is hoped that the arrival of North Korean athletes in South Korea will help reduce tensions between the two countries
The North Koreans – wearing fur hats and black coats – arrived to be greeted by a barrage of camera flashes
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un will move forward with a large-scale military parade in North Korea, the day before the Winter Olympics begins in South Korea
The North Koreans – wearing fur hats and black coats – arrived to be greeted by a barrage of camera flashes. They ignored reporters’ questions and headed directly to buses parked outside the terminal.
Accompanied by a heavy police presence they will go straight to the athletes’ village in Gangneung.
They were the last group of North Korean athletes to arrive for the Olympics. Twelve compatriots in women’s ice hockey have been practicing with their South Korean teammates since last month for the games’ only unified team.
South Korea sees their presence as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with the North after a period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate over its nuclear weapon and missile programs.
The South also arranged for a rare chartered flight between the countries to fly the North Korean athletes to the Games. They were accompanied by South Korean non-Olympic skiers who earlier in the day participated in friendly competitions with North Korean skiers at the North’s Masik ski resort at the end of a two-day visit.
Kim’s parade is being lined up to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military but officials refuse to confirm what exactly is planned for the event
‘It’s meaningful that we were able to come back with North Korean athletes on the same plane,’ said Lee Joo-tae, an official from Seoul’s Unification Ministry who accompanied the South Korean delegation.
Another rare sight on Thursday was North Korean flags that began flying in Olympic villages and stadiums in Pyeongchang and Gangneung, something that normally would not be tolerated in a country with a strict anti-communist law still in effect.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday said his country will move forward with a large-scale military parade, the day before the Winter Olympics begins.
Dozens of long-range missiles will be displayed along a route through North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang on February 8, two diplomatic sources with information on Jong-Un’s intentions told CNN.
The display of might of ‘hundreds’ of missiles and rockets would be intended ‘to scare the hell out of the Americans,’ said one of the sources.
The news comes after President Donald Trump criticized Kim Jong-Un in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He aoso celebrated North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, along with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after spending 17 months in captivity in North Korea for the attempted theft of a propaganda poster from his hotel room.