North youth group given nod to visit for UN event

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North youth group given nod to visit for UN event

Seoul has approved a visit from a group of young North Koreans to Gwangju that will participate in a UN-hosted international youth conference as a conciliatory mood settles over the peninsula.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is in charge of all inter-Korean affairs, announced yesterday its decision to allow three North Koreans to visit the South along with an official from Pyongyang as their guardian. Relations between the two countries have entered a bright patch recently, with the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex reopening and reunions coming up for families split by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The three teenagers, whose identities have not been revealed, will take part in the seventh Youth Leadership Program being held at Honam University in the southwestern city of Gwangju. The event begins Thursday and will run through Sept. 13.

The four will arrive at Incheon International Airport via Beijing on Wednesday and leave on Sept. 4.

Hosted by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (Unosdp) three or four times a year, the program provides leadership training for young people between the ages of 18 and 25 from developing countries, where they rarely get a chance to experience such education

The conference first convened in Doha in 2012.

During their 13-day stay, a total of 34 adolescents from 19 regions in Asia and Oceania will participate in a variety of programs including sports competitions, leadership lectures and Korean cultural activities.

Participation fees are all covered by the UN, with the accommodation provided by the Gwangju city government. Flights for all participants have been covered by Korean Air.

On Friday, North Korea sent a list of the three youths and the chaperon to the Unosdp headquarters that was handed over to the Gwangju city government. The city then asked the Unification Ministry for approval for the visit.

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