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N. Korea to send sports minister to Incheon Asiad

Posted September. 06, 2014 08:58,   


The Unification Ministry of South Korea said on Friday that North Korea will dispatch its top sports official Kim Yong Hun to the Incheon Asian Games, which kicks off from September 19. North Korea sent a notification containing the list of 273 team members and the date of their arrival in South Korea through the liaison office in the Panmunjom truce village.

A South Korean government official said that this is the first visit to South Korea by a senior North Korean official since two top Workers` Party officials, Kim Ki Nam and Kim Yang Gon, came to the South to participate in the funeral for former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in 2009. Eyes are on whether Kim Yong Hun will deliver a separate message to the South Korean government.

Kim’s appointment to sports minister has been confirmed from the North’s media report. Before that he was an official for sports in the Workers’ Party. He rose to prominence by accompanying Kim Jong Un’s inspection of various sports-related facilities. On that day’s notification, North Korea said Kim Yong Hun was chairman of North Korea`s Olympic Committee rather than say he was sports minister.

Aside from Kim, the North’s team members include five representatives of the committee, including Son Kwang Ho, vice chairman of the committee. Son was the leader of the July inter-Korean working-level talks related to the Asian Games. The athletes are scheduled to ride North Korean airline planes on the 11th, 16th 19th, 22nd and the 28th and land at Incheon International Airport via a direct route.