Seoul Requests N. Korea's Explanation for Canceled Visit

Seoul Requests N. Korea's Explanation for Canceled Visit

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) speaks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting of top diplomats from 16 countries in Vancouver on January 16, 2018, in this photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry.

A meeting at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland kicked off about half an hour ago, to determine North Korea's participation at next month's PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Seoul separately asked Pyongyang for permission on Friday that its own team of 12 inspectors visit North Korea next Tuesday by taking a road along the east coast connecting the two countries, staying until Thursday to check facilities at the Mount Kumgang resort and Masikryong Ski Resort.

The two countries have also agreed to form a shared women's ice hockey team in a historic moment for the peninsula.

"It's not a permanent cancellation on sending its advance team for performance, it is a tentative cancel", a ministry official said.

According to the North, Hyon is the leader of the "Samjiyon Orchestra", which the country earlier said will be sent to the South.

The art troupe will be part of a North Korean delegation to the Olympics that will also include athletes and high-ranking officials.

A lot of them were South Koreans left stranded after the 1950-1953 Korean War, but hundreds of others from around the world - including women from Lebanon, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Romania and France - were taken or disappeared while visiting the country between the 1960s and 1980s, the report said. While South Korea hopes to use the games to improve relations with its rival after a year of animosity over North Korea's rapidly expanding nuclear program, some experts view Kim's overture as an attempt to weaken US -led global sanctions against the North and buy time to further advance his nuclear weapons program.

Earlier this week North and South Korea agreed to march under a "unity flag" at the Games, to be held in Pyeongchang County.

As things stand, the North looks set to send a delegation of over 400 athletes, officials and performers to the South via their land border in order to avoid sea route restrictions.



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