North Korean athletes likely to travel to South by chartered plane
SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 29 (UPI) — North Korean athletes competing in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will travel to South Korea by plane, Seoul officials said Monday.
The Unification Ministry and the Korea Ski Association said authorities are arranging for a South Korean chartered plane to transport roughly 30 members of the North’s sports delegation to the South.
The group, including six skiers, would travel from Kalma International Airport in Wonsan to Yangyang International Airport in the South’s Gangwon Province where the Pyeongchang Olympics will be held.
However, it is yet unclear whether figure skaters and short-track speed skaters will be among them or travel through an overland route, according to Yonhap.
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The North’s sports delegation to the Games includes 22 athletes and 24 officials. Among them, 15 in the women’s ice hockey team arrived in the South last week to form a joint team with South Korean players.
Earlier on Monday, the Unification Ministry said it plans to send South Korean skiers to the North’s Masikryong Ski Resort also on a chartered flight.
The South Korean skiers, who won’t be competing in the Winter Games, will attend a two-day training session with North Korean athletes as part of the two Koreas’ pre-Olympic exchanges.
According to ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun, the North will allow the plane to arrive at Kalma Airport, a 45-minute drive from the training facility and provide necessary assistance.
South Korea will not pay fees for using the airport and entering North Korean airspace, as making payments to Pyongyang would violate international sanctions, according to the spokesman.
Seoul is closely consulting with the international community to ensure that no problems arise regarding global sanctions during inter-Korean exchanges, Baik said.