N.K. claims U.N. sanctions hamper its sports development
SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Monday denounced a set of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests as they are hampering the country's development in the sports field.
Kang Ryong-gil, deputy secretary general of North Korea's Olympic Committee, told foreign reporters in Pyongyang that the sanctions "hinder the aspiration of North Koreans to develop sports," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
He claimed that the UNSC sanctions resolution adopted in March last year even included recreational sports equipment on a list of banned luxury goods.
Kang's remark came as the UNSC imposed tough sanctions against North Korea in March and November 2016 for its two nuclear tests and a long-range rocket launch. The resolutions focused on curbing the inflow of hard currency to the regime. It also came as North Korea plans to take part in the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, which will be held from Feb. 19 to 26.
The sanctions led some countries to impose exports bans on North Korea over such sports equipment as skis, yachts and mountaineering boots, he said. The blockade of money transfers also prevents fund assistance which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) provides for sports development in member countries.
"The thing is that sports firearms can never be turned into rockets nor rockets be fired from them," Kang said.
Pyongyang has yet to express its intent to take part in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics to be hosted by South Korea. But the games' top organizer has said that South Korea will welcome North Korean participation.