North’s taekwondo team to perform on Feb. 12

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North’s taekwondo team to perform on Feb. 12

Some 30 North Korean members of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) will be performing with South Korean taekwondo players at Seoul City Hall on Feb. 12.

“The North-South taekwondo performance is being hosted in Seoul in honor of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in its statement on Wednesday. “The Seoul city government welcomes the North Korean ITF delegation and will be supporting its performance at Seoul City Hall.”

The performance will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at City Hall on Feb. 12, and again at MBC headquarters in western Seoul on Feb. 14. A South Korean taekwondo team, consisting of members of Seoul-based World Taekwondo (WT), will also perform, and the members of the ITF and WT plan to hold a joint performance together.

“We haven’t made a decision on whether the performances will be open to all,” said a WT press officer.

The ITF headquarters is based in Austria and it is currently led by a North Korean president, Ri Yong-sun. Though the organization was initially founded in the South, its founder, Choi Hong-hi, effectively brought the organization to the North when he reportedly introduced it there in the 1980s and defected to the North afterwards.

The ITF performed for the first time in the South in 2007 and for a second time during the World Taekwondo Championships last year.

“We hope to boost bilateral relations,” said Kim Yong-bok, head of the Planning and Administration Office of the city government, “with this North-South joint performance of taekwondo, the martial arts of our people.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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