North Korean athletes and delegates arrived within the South Wednesday to participate within the Winter Paralympics, as a part of an Olympics-driven detente between the 2 neighbours.
Two opponents — each of them collaborating in cross-country snowboarding — together with 4 observer athletes and 18 officers crossed the land border north of Seoul earlier than heading for the venues.
Their journey got here a day after Seoul introduced plans to carry a historic summit between the North’s chief Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in — the most recent fruit of their Olympics-fuelled diplomacy.
Moon sought to make use of the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Video games to attempt to dealer dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang in a bid to ease the nuclear standoff between them.
The North mounted a appeal offensive by sending a whole bunch of cheerleaders and Kim’s sister to the opening ceremony of the Video games, throughout which athletes from the 2 Koreas marched collectively below a impartial “unification flag”.
Seoul responded by sending Moon’s particular envoys — together with his spy chief — to Pyongyang this week, the place chief Kim informed them he was keen to debate denuclearisation with the US.
The North Korean athletes — Kim Jong Hyon and Ma Yu Chol — might march with their counterparts from the South throughout Friday’s opening ceremony for the Paralympics, which run till March 18.
The pair made their worldwide debuts in a event in January in Oberried, Germany.
It’s the first time the North, which has usually confronted criticism for its merciless remedy of disabled folks, has taken half within the Winter Paralympics.
Pyongyang had beforehand despatched athletes to the 2012 Summer season Paralympics in London and the 2016 version of the video games in Rio.
Craig Spence, a spokesman for the Worldwide Paralympic Committee (IPC), mentioned the athletes had been given “bipartite” slots for the video games, that means they’d not been capable of meet the total qualification standards.
“They’ve bipartite invites from us because of their circumstances. They haven’t been travelling world wide and haven’t been in a position to participate in all of the qualifying occasions,” he informed AFP.
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