Seoul rejects local criticism against planned North Korean Olympics participation
Iran Press TV
Tue Jan 23, 2018 06:26AM
The South Korean government has rejected local criticism that North Korea has been receiving too much attention because of its scheduled participation in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
The presidential Blue House said on Tuesday that Pyongyang's participation in the event would help reduce the current tensions between the two sides.
A number of South Korean opposition politicians had earlier voiced criticism over the North's participation in the Winter Olympic Games – due in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang – complaining that the "Pyeongchang Olympics" has turned into the "Pyongyang Olympics."
The Blue House responded by saying that the games had to be called the "Peace Olympics," in a reference to how the event has brought the two Koreas together.
"We can't understand putting an outdated tag of 'Pyongyang Olympics' to the Pyeongchang Olympics, which will be a 'Peace Olympics,'" Government spokesman Park Soo-hyun announced. "We're confident that the Olympics will be a stepping stone to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, to Northeast Asia and the world."
Under a deal approved by the International Olympic Committee, the Koreas will field their first unified Olympic team in women's hockey, and will have their athletes parade together under a single flag during the February 9 opening ceremony.
The administration of South Korea's liberal president, Moon Jae-in, has come under pressure for its decision to mend relations with the North, and Moon's approval rating has fallen to a four-month low at 66 percent due to a backlash over the decision regarding the combined hockey team, a poll showed on Monday.
South Korean opposition politicians joined by a crowd of protesters gathered at Seoul Station on Monday as North Korean music star Hyon Song-wol – heading the high-profile Winter Olympics delegation from the North – was passing by and set fire to a North Korean flag and an image of the North's leader Kim Jong-un.
The criticism has come even as the recent thaw in inter-Korean relations was initiated by the North not the South.
Meanwhile, a team of South Korean officials traveled to North Korea on Tuesday and an Olympics team from North Korea arrived in the South earlier this week.
The two Koreas have long had rocky relations and have been in a state of cold war since the early 1950s, when they ended an actual war with a truce but not a peace deal.
The two Koreas have also agreed to hold joint cultural events at the North's Diamond Mountain and have their non-Olympic skiers practice together at a North Korean ski resort.
Another South Korean team is scheduled to go to the North to check the venues for the joint cultural events.
Recent visits by North Korean parties to the South have received much media attention
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