South Korean Taekwondo Demonstration Team to Perform Twice in Pyongyang
Ben Cho, March 27, 2018, 8:58 a.m.
South Korea's taekwondo demonstration team will have two performances in North Korea next month, the sports ministry in Seoul announced Tuesday. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the South Korean taekwondo demonstrators will visit Pyongyang and perform at the Hall of Taekwondo on Sunday and at Pyongyang Grand Theatre next day. The taekwondo demonstration team is part of South Korea's 190-strong delegation, which also includes 160 artists who will stage concerts in Pyongyang.
The taekwondo demonstration team will have an exclusive 60-minute performance on the first day and will perform together with North Koreans following day. The South and North taekwondo practitioners will each perform for 25 minutes before a five-minute joint performance.
This will be the first time in 16 years that South Korean taekwondo practitioners will perform in the North Korean capital. In 2002, South Koreans had two taekwondo demonstration performances at the Hall of Taekwondo in Pyongyang following a minister-level talk.
The South's taekwondo performance in Pyongyang will reciprocate an earlier visit by their North Korean counterparts during the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. A North Korean taekwondo team by the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) held four shows in South Korea, including a joint performance with South Korea during the pre-shows of the Olympic opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
The South's taekwondo team will be organized by Seoul-based World Taekwondo (WT), the official international taekwondo governing body recognized by the International Olympic Committee. According to the ministry, the team will have 20 taekwondo practitioners and two WT officials.
The two WT officials are scheduled to depart for Pyongyang on Thursday as a part of the advance team, while the remaining members will land in Pyongyang on Saturday with the main group. The WT said its president Choue Chung-won will not accompany the team due to WT meetings.
The South's WT and the North Korean-led ITF have moved closer to each other in recent years after they signed a "Protocol of Accord" in August 2014, a landmark agreement dealing with the exchange of demonstration teams and other matters of cooperation.
The two organizations kicked off with a joint performance during the 2015 WT World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia. It was the first time that the ITF taekwondo demonstration team had performed at an event organized by the WT.
The ITF later sent a demonstration team to the WT World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, 240 kilometers south of Seoul, last June. It was the first instance of inter-Korean sports exchange under the new Moon Jae-in administration in the South.