SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) — North Korea will qualify for “some events” at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea, a Pyongyang sports official said Friday.
Chang Ung, the lone International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from North Korea, told the Choson Sinbo newspaper that athletes from his country will play their way into the Olympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, next year.
The Chosun Sinbo — a newspaper of Chongryon, a Tokyo-based organization of pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan — is not the North’s state media, but it serves as an unofficial mouthpiece for Pyongyang.
The PyeongChang event will be the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea.
Chang didn’t specify in which sports he thought North Korean athletes will earn their Olympic eligibility.
According to the Chosun Sinbo, Chang also said there would be several obstacles to the North-South co-hosting of the Olympics.
Chang did point out that sports could be a “catalyst” for reunification of the Koreas, “once the Koreas reach a point where improvements in relations will be desperately needed.”
While visiting Sapporo, Japan, for the Asian Winter Games last month, Chang had told the Japanese press that “there was no reason for us not to participate” in the PyeongChang Olympics.
PyeongChang organizers have said they will keep the doors open to North Korea. Lee Hee-beom, the chief organizer, had repeatedly said any peace-loving country has the right and obligation to take part in the Olympic Games, and that North Korea’s participation would be handled in accordance with international rules and customs.
Source : Yonhap News Agency