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(LEAD) S. Korea hails N. Koreans' PyeongChang Olympic qualification

2017/10/01 11:09

(ATTN: UPDATES with President Moon's view, other details in last 3 paras; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office on Sunday welcomed the qualification by North Korean figure skaters for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, saying it is expected to help pave the way for the communist neighbor's participation into the games to be held in the South early next year.

The duo -- Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik -- secured a ticket for the games during a competition at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, earlier this week.

"(We) welcome the creation of the opportunity for North Korea to take part in the PyeongChang Olympics," a senior official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said. "We hope more North Korean athletes, not just the figure skaters, will have a chance to join (the games)."

  

Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik of North Korea perform in a figure staking competition in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Sept. 28, 2017, in this photo provided by AFP. (Yonhap) Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik of North Korea perform in a figure staking competition in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Sept. 28, 2017, in this photo provided by AFP. (Yonhap)

Another Cheong Wa Dae official pointed out it's up to the North's regime whether it will send a delegation to PyeongChang, an eastern town of the South.

With the qualification, he added, North Korea has "cause" for coming to South Korea for the sports event, not related to political or military situations.

In a recent interview with CNN, the South's President Moon Jae-in voiced hope that the PyeongChang Games will help promote inter-Korean reconciliation.

"I hope North Korea will also participate, which will provide a very good opportunity for inter-Korean peace and reconciliation," he said.

North Korea did not have any athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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