South Korea Approves North Korean Delegate for Gwangju Universiade
kpride, April 8, 2015, 10:47 a.m.
The South Korean government has approved a cross-border trip by North Korean sports officials for a preparatory meeting ahead of an international collegiate athletic competition to be held here, the event's organizers said on Wednesday.
The organizing committee for the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju said a delegation of four officials has received the green light from the unification ministry to visit the southern metropolitan city for the Heads of Delegation (HoD) meeting, which will take place from Saturday to next Wednesday.
Separately, Lim Byeong-cheol, spokesman for the ministry, also said at a press briefing that the government authorized the cross-border trip. Lim said the delegation will arrive in South Korea via Beijing on Friday morning and will depart South Korea on Tuesday, one day prior to the conclusion of the meeting.
"The government will be in close coordination with the organizing committee and other relevant agencies to ensure a successful meeting with the North Korean delegation in attendance," Lim added.
The delegation will be led by Jang Jong-nam, vice president of the North's National University Sports Federation. North Korea said last month it will send a 108-member delegation to the Universiade, a multisport competition for university athletes set to run from July 3-14 in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, and its satellite towns.
During the HoD meeting, draws for basketball, volleyball, water polo, football, baseball and handball will also take place. North Korea will take part in women's football and handball at the Universiade.
The organizing committee said some 200 representatives from 60 nations will attend the HoD meeting, along with officials from the international University Sports Federation (FISU) and the organizing committee. The visiting delegates will also tour the athletes' village and competition and training venues. Gwangju is the third South Korean host of the Universiade. Muju and Jeonju, in North Jeolla Province, co-hosted the winter edition in 1997, and Daegu held the summer event in 2003.