by WorldTribune Staff, November 21, 2017
North Korea’s athletes will be welcomed by host South Korea to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to list Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Seoul’s government sees the participation of North Korea in the Games as a way to bring Pyongyang to the “negotiating table.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held from Feb. 9 to 25.
North Korean figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik qualified for the Games in the pairs competition.
The U.S. on Nov. 20 returned North Korea to its list of states sponsoring terrorism. Pyongyang had been removed from the list nine years ago.
“The government’s position is that the latest measure would contribute to the approach of bringing North Korea to the negotiating table through strong sanctions and pressure so as to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-Duk said in a press briefing on Nov. 21. “In that vein, I don’t think (the measure) has anything special to do with the Winter Olympics.”
Noh added that “In the case of the PyeongChang Olympics, any country that has met certain qualifications may apply for participation through the International Olympic Committee and naturally be able to join.”
Iran, also on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, will likewise participate in the Games at PeyongChang.