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Signs detected of N.K. preparing for PyeongChang Paralympics: Seoul

2017/12/26 16:47

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SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry said Tuesday that there are some signs that North Korea is preparing to take part in the PyeongChang Paralympics slated for March, though the North has not officially announced if it is joining.

The PyeongChang Paralympics will be held from March 9-18 in South Korea, after the South hosts the Winter Olympics from Feb. 9-25. North Korea has yet to officially express its intent to participate in the events.

"At the working level, North Korea is known to be preparing for the Paralympics," said an official at the Ministry of Unification.

The official said that he cannot elaborate on details, adding that whether North Korean athletes are undergoing overseas training is not verified.

Seoul is pinning hopes on the North's participation in the Winter Olympics as it believes that the move will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

President Moon Jae-in said that he proposed to the United States delaying the allies' joint military drills that would coincide with the PyeongChang Olympics or the Paralympics. The North has long denounced the exercises as a war rehearsal despite the allies' reassurance that they are defensive in nature.