South Korea pays North’s way to Games

Top lead­ers, Kim’s sis­ter not among ben­e­fi­cia­ries

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Aamer Mad­hani

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – South Korea is pay­ing the bill for hun­dreds of mem­bers of North Korea’s del­e­ga­tion to the Win­ter Olympics.

The South and North Ex­change Co­op­er­a­tion Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil agreed Wed­nes­day to use $2.64 mil­lion from the South Korean gov­ern­ment for the North’s ex­penses in Pyeongchang.

The money will pay for mem­bers of an art troupe that per­formed in Seoul dur­ing the Games, a cheer­ing squad that has cap­tured at­ten­tion as they root for the uni­fied Korea team and other lower-level del­e­ga­tion mem­bers.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee is pick­ing up the tab for 22

North Korean ath­letes who trav­eled to the Games.

The del­e­ga­tion in­cluded Kim Jong Un’s sis­ter, Kim Yo Jong, who met with South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in.

Ex­penses for her and other high-level North Korean lead­ers will be paid from an­other stream of fund­ing, South Korea’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­istry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told re­porters.

He did not spec­ify where that money would come from.

Kim Yo Jong’s visit marked the first time since the two coun­tries split af­ter World War II that a mem­ber of the rul­ing Kim fam­ily vis­ited the South.

“The Olympics have be­come a chance for the North to com­mu­ni­cate with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” said South Korea’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­is­ter, Cho My­oung-gyon. “This could fur­ther pave the way for dis­cus­sion to build and sus­tain peace.”

South Korea pick­ing up the North’s tab for the Win­ter Games is no small thing. The regime has been eco­nom­i­cally iso­lated from much of the world econ­omy over its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram.

The North’s pres­ence in Pyeongchang was not as­sured un­til just weeks be­fore the Games opened. The IOC had spo­ken of do­ing ev­ery­thing it could to en­sure that North Korea would be here, and South Korea agreed to share its women’s hockey ros­ter and to walk in as one Korea for the open­ing cer­e­mony.

Kim, who in the past has threat­ened to bomb the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the South Korean pres­i­dent, praised the South upon the re­turn to Py­ongyang of his sis­ter and other high-level mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to KCNA.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has dis­missed North Korea’s charm of­fen­sive as a pro­pa­ganda stunt.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, greets mem­bers of his del­e­ga­tion, who vis­ited South Korea. STR, AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, left, in line with the North’s Kim Yo Jong. AN­DREW NELLES/ USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.