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N. Korean Olympic delegation could include high-level officials

N. Korean Olympic delegation could include high-level officials

Posted January. 12, 2018 08:07,   

Updated January. 12, 2018 08:28


20 athletes, several top-level officials to PyeongChang Olympics

North Korea is expected to send a more than anticipated number of athletes, around 20, to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. As South Korea asks the North to send as many as possible, the final size of the delegation could grow further.

An official at Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Thursday that the size of the North Korean delegation will be in two digits. “The final number will be determined after a consultation between the International Olympic Committee and the two Koreas on January 20, based on the result of inter-Korean working-level talks,” the official said. Many observers anticipated that five to 10 North Korean athletes would have “wild card” participation in the Winter Olympics, as the North does not have a wide winter sports base. Including coaches and supporting staff, a delegation of about 20 are expected to come to Pyeongchang.

However, the North’s high-level delegation will likely involve a number of senior officials, considering that the Winter Olympics is a global-scale event, that 2018 marks North Korea’s 70th founding anniversary, and that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un mentioned the PyeongChang Olympics in his New Year address. Some observers predict that the high-level delegation could include Choe Ryong Hae, the No. 2 man in the North, United Front Department Director Kim Yong Chol and Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, a vice department director at the North’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com