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‘Seoul teenage soccer players in Pyongyang safe and sound’

‘Seoul teenage soccer players in Pyongyang safe and sound’

Posted August. 22, 2015 07:16,   


A total of 924 South Korean citizens were staying in North Korea until the evening on Thursday when the two Koreas exchanged fire.

The South Korean Unification Ministry said on Friday, “A total of 830 people working at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Park, 10 members of the South and North Korea joint excavation team for Kaesong and Manwoldae, and 83 people including players and reporters covering the Pyongyang international youth soccer competition were staying in Pyongyang as of 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.” If European country diplomats’ wives who are South Korean citizens are added to this figure, a combined total of 924 South Koreans were staying in the North. To ensure the safety of South Korean nationals staying in the North on Thursday, the Seoul government put in place measures including examination of the emergency communication system and informing of precautionary measures to them.’

The process for entry into and exit from the Kaesong Industrial Park operated normally on Friday. The Unification Ministry said, “As 471 people left the South and 778 people are set to return to the South on Friday, the number of South Koreans staying in the North will likely decrease from Thursday.” Normally, people who return to the South outnumbers those who enter the complex on Friday ahead of weekends, and thus the number of South Koreans staying in the North over the weekend amounts to about 270 on average.

Meanwhile, the U-15 international youth soccer competition, which will kick off on Friday and continue through Monday at the May 1 Neungnado Stadium in Pyongyang, is co-hosted by the inter-Korean sports exchange association and Pyongyang International Soccer School, and sponsored by Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, and Yeoncheon County in Gyeonggi in the South, and marks the second annual event this year. South Korea formed two teams with 20 players each, who were selected from middle and high schools in Gyeonggi and Gangwon. North Korea deployed players from Pyongyang International Soccer School and the April 15 sports organization. The unification ministry understands there is no abnormal condition among South Korean players staying there up to now.

The competition brings together a total of eight teams from six countries including youth teams from China, Brazil, Croatia, and Uzbekistan.