North Korean pop star visits South Korea before performing at the Olympics


The North Korean delegation was led by popular female singer Hyon Song-wol who smiled and waved to a crowd at the train station before the protest began.

North Korea earlier suspended a planned visit to the South by its delegation, tasked with preparing cultural performances for the Games next month, without giving a reason.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fueled the tensions by exchanging personal insults and threats.

Earlier in the day, the North's delegation crossed the land border via the Gyeongui Line, becoming the first North Koreans to travel to the South since the launch of the Moon Jae-in administration in May past year.

Officials from North Korea and South Korea have met to confirm how they will work together for next month's Pyeongchang Winter Games in a landmark collaboration.

The North Korean athletes will be handed quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card, to allow them to compete in ice skating, skiing and ice hockey.

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"Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago", International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said in Lausanne, Switzerland.

North Korea had zero athletes in 2014 and two in 2010.

The delegation led by Hyon would inspect venues in Gangneung yesterday and those in the capital Seoul today before returning to the North the same day.

"It was not easy to put this list together, but we wanted to be absolutely sure that only clean athletes from Russian Federation can be invited to participate in the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018".

South Korea's Ministry of Unification on Saturday requested an explanation, and informed the North that Seoul intends to follow the plans agreed to in the high-level talks.

Outside critics have dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken US -led global sanctions over North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile programs.

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"There are many considerations with regard to the impact of these proposals on the other participating (nations) and athletes", an International Olympic Committee spokesman said this week.

But, North Korea canceled at the last minute, according to Yonhap News Agency, citing the South Korean Ministry of Unification.

Part of the Olympic park in South Korea.

However, Pyongyang could earn foreign currency by holding pre-events at Mt. Kumgang in southeastern North Korea and using the Masik Pass ski resort.

Around 400 people are expected to head south from North Korea for the games in Pyeongchang County on 9 February.

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