January 17, 2018 09:19
Welcoming a North Korean delegation that will be up to 500 strong to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang threatens to become a logistical nightmare.
In talks on Monday, South Korea proposed that the North Koreans travel across the border by land, which will probably mean they will be funneled through the truce village of Panmunjom.
"The delegation is so big that we expect a lot of difficulties in terms of security and support," a government official admitted.
Around 500 to 600 North Koreans came to South Korea during the 2002 Asian Games in Busan and the 2003 Universiade in Daegu, but they traveled on ships and airplanes. Due to UN Security Council sanctions, that will not be possible this time.
Finding accommodation at this late stage is also a challenge.
Gangneung Mayor Choi Myeong-hee last week offered to put up the North Korean performers and cheerleaders for free at a lodging facility in the northeastern city.
One National Intelligence Service source who has experience providing security for North Korean visitors said, "The North Korean cheerleaders and other members of the delegation are used to group life, so it won’t be too difficult once the accommodations is arranged. The problem is handling curious South Korean onlookers."
North and South Korean officials meet for another round of talks in Panmunjom on Wednesday. "There are many areas that need to be discussed involving the athletes, observers, high-ranking delegation and cheerleaders," Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com