Two Koreas Hold Mutual Visits for Winter Olympics open the window of AOD

Write : 2018-01-28


Preparations are well under way for North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, with advance teams from the two Koreas making mutual visits to inspect related sites.
A cultural team from North Korea led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the Samjiyon Orchestra, was the first to visit the South last Sunday.
Their two-day trip was originally scheduled to start on Saturday, but Pyongyang abruptly notified Seoul Friday night that it was "suspending" the visit. The North did then come on Sunday, although the reason for the delay is unknown.
On the first day, North Korean officials toured sites in the city of Gangneung. At Gangneung Art Center, they spent two and a half hours thoroughly checking concert facilities.
On the second day, they moved up to Seoul and visited three performance halls including an hour-long stay at the National Theater where officials checked on lighting, the sound system and stage setting.
After returning home, North Korea notified Seoul of its plan to perform at the Gangneung Art Center and the National Theater in Seoul around the time of the Olympics.
On Tuesday, an advance team from South Korea crossed the border to the North. Over three days, the 12 member team led by a senior Unification Ministry official toured a North Korean ski resort and performance sites at Mount Geumgang.
It marks the first time since February 2016 that a South Korean government official has visited the North.
The Masikryong Ski Resort is where South and North Korean skiers will hold their joint training sessions.
At Geumgang, South Korean officials examined possible venues for a joint inter-Korean performance scheduled at the scenic mountain.
Meanwhile, another inspection team from the North arrived in the South on Thursday, the same day South Korean officials returned from the North.
The North's female ice hockey team also came Thursday as the two Koreas have agreed to field a joint team.
On arrival, the eight member North Korean delegation led by senior sports official Yun Yong-bok headed straight to Gangwon Province and looked around where the North's cheering squad will be staying during the Olympic period.
In Gangneung, they toured various stadiums where sporting events will take place. On the second day, they traveled to PyeongChang and also visited Olympic facilities. The delegation then inspected sites in Seoul on the final day of their trip.
Meanwhile the North's ice hockey team, which includes the coach, 12 athletes and two officials, headed directly to the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province where they joined training with South Korean athletes.
The joint inter-Korean team have been allowed to have an expanded 35 members and three North Korean players will be included in every match.
With the mutual visits progressing smoothly, the goal to make the PyeongChang Games a ‘peace Olympics’ appears to be nearly accomplished.

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