Pyongyang sent request to take part in Paralympics

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Pyongyang sent request to take part in Paralympics

North Korea submitted an informal request to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) saying it wants to participate in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics, said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday.

“The North had told the IPC on May 9 that it wishes to participate in the Paralympics Games,” Kang said in a report to the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly for the routine government inspection on Friday. “We know that the North has won a ticket to compete at the figure skating games [at the PyeongChang Olympics] and we are asking for the International Olympic Committee’s cooperation to have the North participate in more games.”

But Pyongyang has not made any moves to win a ticket to the Paralympics, such as having its athletes compete in international games to earn their place at the Paralympics or request wildcard slots from the IPC.

“The North has not followed up with any official moves to enter the Paralympics,” said the South’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan in a report to the Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee of the Assembly at the Sejong Government Complex. “The fact of the matter is that the North’s participation at the Paralympics remains undecided.”

“If the North wants to participate in the Paralympics, it will have to act within this year,” said a South Korean foreign ministry official. “If the North does participate in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics, it will help ease the tension in the region.”

The North has never participated in the Winter Paralympic Games.

The South’s Moon Jae-in administration is preparing a UN resolution that suggests all conflict throughout the world be put on hold from Feb. 9 to 25, during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Kang said she expects the resolution to be voted on around mid-November.

BY CHAE BYUNG-GUN [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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