DPRK to send high-ranking delegation to closing ceremony of Winter Olympics: S.Korea

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/2/22 15:02:05

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has notified South Korea of its plan to send a high-ranking delegation to the closing ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics, boosting hope for a lasting atmosphere for dialogue between the two Koreas, Seoul's unification ministry said Thursday.

The high-ranking DPRK delegation, led by Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, will make a three-day visit to South Korea beginning Sunday when the closing ceremony is scheduled to be held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, will accompany Kim as a delegate together with six support staff, according to the notification delivered by the DPRK earlier in the day.

The DPRK delegation will cross the western land border, which has divided the two Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, to attend the closing ceremony of the South Korea-hosted winter sports event that kicked off on Feb. 9.

The unification ministry said in a statement that the DPRK's dispatch of its high-level delegation would help advance the process of settling peace on the Korean Peninsula, including improved inter-Korean ties and denuclearization.

Signs of a thawing mood on the Korean Peninsula emerged since the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's address that he was willing to enhance inter-Korean relations and talk with South Korea about its participation in the Winter Olympics.

The first high-level inter-Korean dialogue in about two years was held on Jan. 9 in the truce village of Panmunjom, and the DPRK agreed to send its athletes, cheerleaders and artists as well as a senior-level delegation to the Winter Olympics.

For the Feb. 9 opening ceremony, the DPRK dispatched a senior-level delegation, including Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

During her three-day stay in South Korea, the younger Kim met and lunched with President Moon Jae-in at Moon's presidential compound in Seoul, delivering the DPRK leader's invitation to Moon to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time.

In response, Moon said the two Koreas should create conditions to make it happen, asking the DPRK to more actively talk with the United States.

During a telephone conversation in January, President Moon and US President Donald Trump shared a possibility for the inter-Korean talks naturally leading to talks between the DPRK and the United States.

The Trump administration will send its Olympic delegation, led by Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump, to attend the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Ivanka, also Trump's advisor, was scheduled to come to South Korea Friday and have dinner at the night with Moon at the Blue House.

The White House advisor allegedly had no plan to meet with the DPRK delegates to the Winter Olympics, but Moon was forecast to emphasize the importance for talks between Pyongyang and Washington during his dinner meeting with Ivanka.


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