Inter-Korean cultural event to be held at Mt. Kumgang prior to Olympics

Posted on : 2018-01-18 18:02 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
The two sides will also field a combined women’s hockey team and have skiers train together
Chun Hae-sung
Chun Hae-sung

South and North Korea seem poised to send an even louder message of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The two sides agreed to hold a joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang prior to the Olympics opening ceremony and to have their skiers train together at the Masikryong Ski Resort, two sites located in North Korea.

The two sides will also field a unified women’s hockey team in the Olympic Games and march into the opening ceremony under the Unification Flag. In addition to its delegation to the Olympics (taking place between Feb. 9 and 25), the North will be sending a delegation of more than 150 people to the Paralympics (taking place between Mar. 9 and 18) and sending more than 230 cheerleaders to the Olympics.

South and North Korea reached an agreement on these points during vice minister-level talks addressing the practicalities of North Korea sending a delegation to the Pyeongchang Olympics. The talks, which were held at the House of Peace on the South Korean side of Panmunjeom from 10 am to 9 pm on Jan. 17, resulted in an 11-point joint press statement.

The agreements reached in negotiations led by Chun Hae-sung, South Korea’s Vice Minister of Unification, and Jon Jong-su, Vice Chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, can be summarized as follows: holding a joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang prior to the main opening ceremony at Pyeongchang; having skiers from the two sides train together at the Masikryong Ski Resort; creating a united women’s hockey team; marching into the opening ceremony together under the Unification Flag; sending more than 230 members of a North Korean cheer group to the Olympics; transporting the delegation from North Korea’s National Olympic Committee, athletes, cheer group, the Taekwondo demonstration team and reporters overland on the Gyeongui Line; and sending a North Korean delegation of at least 150 people to the Paralympics.

South and North Korea decided to determine the number of athletes who will participate in the Olympics and the events in which they will compete through deliberations between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and South and North Korea’s respective Olympic committees. North Korea’s contingent of athletes will be crossing into the South on the Gyeongui Line on Feb. 1, to be followed on Feb. 7 by the rest of the North Korean delegation, including officials from the National Olympic Committee, cheer group, the Taekwondo demonstration team and reporters.

It was agreed that North Korea’s Taekwondo demonstration team, which will be over 30 members in size, will perform in Pyeongchang and Seoul. North Korea said it would send an advance team from Jan. 25 to 27 to inspect the facilities required for the activities of its athletes, Taekwondo demonstration team and reporters. South Korea will also be sending an advance team of its own to the North from Jan. 23 to 25 to prepare for the joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang and the joint training at the Masikryong Ski Resort.

South and North Korea agreed that the North Korean delegation would respect South Korean instructions and social order and that the South would guarantee the safety and comfort of the North Korean delegation. The two sides agreed to deal with miscellaneous practical matters that may arise through correspondence via the liaison channel at Panmunjeom.

South and North Korea’s plan to celebrate the eve of the Pyeongchang Olympics at Mount Kumgang and use the Masikryong Ski Resort as a training facility are part of the plan that South Korean President Moon Jae-in laid out while he was running for president. The agreement reached on Jan. 17 suggests that all three of the overland routes connecting South and North Korea – the Gyeongui Line, the East Sea Line at Mount Kumgang and Panmunjeom – will open for the Pyeongchang Olympics.

By Kim Ji-eun, staff reporter

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