Seoul, Feb 5: South Korean authorities on Monday welcomed North Korea’s plan to send its ceremonial head of state who will lead a 22-member delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, saying it shows Pyongyang’s sincere efforts to improve inter-Korean ties.
“We believe it reflects North Korea’s determination to improve the South Korea-North Korea relationship and make the Olympic Games successful and that the North has shown sincere and earnest efforts toward such an end,” Cheong Wa Dae (presidential office) spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing.
The remarks came a day after North Korea notified Seoul that Kim Yong-nam, 90, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, will head a high-level delegation to the Winter Olympic Games slated to be held in the South from February 9 to 25, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The North Korean delegation will include three delegates and 18 supporting officials.
Baik Tae-hyun, Seoul’s unification ministry spokesman, said the South Korean government will prepare to let the North Korean delegation attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics as well as other competitions and events, while preparing to make it possible for high-ranking officials from the two Koreas to hold talks, reports Xinhua news agency.
The North Korean art troupe planned to visit South Korea by sea for performances during the Winter Olympic period, Baik said.
Pyongyang also notified Seoul of its plan to send the 140-member Samjiyon orchestra on the Mangyongbong-92 ferry on Tuesday and use the vessel as an accommodation for the art troupe, the spokesman said.
The Samjiyon orchestra will hold two concerts — one in Gangneung, an eastern city near PyeongChang, on Thursday and the other in Seoul on Sunday.
During the high-level inter-Korean talks in January, North Korea agreed to dispatch its athletes, a cheering squad and an art troupe to the Winter Olympics.