January 22, 2018 12:21
North Korea will send an eight-member team led by a Sports Ministry official to South Korea later this week to prepare for the arrival of North Korean athletes for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
They will inspect accommodation, sports venues and the press center. Security and accommodation for the North Korean contingent are proving a growing headache for the government here now it has swelled to over 700.
Twenty-two North Korean athletes will arrive here on Feb. 1, followed by 24 North Korean sports officials, 230 cheerleaders, a 30-strong taekwondo demonstration team, and 21 reporters. They will be supported by 250 cheerleaders from the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan or Chongryon.
It is nearly impossible to find hotel rooms in and around Pyeongchang. The small number of North Korean athletes can stay at the athletes' village, but their vast entourage will have to sleep somewhere else.
A Unification Ministry official said the North Korean cheerleaders will stay "near Pyeongchang."
Back on Jan. 11, Gangneung Mayor Choi Myeong-hee expressed his willingness to accommodate North Korean cheerleaders for free at the city's hanok village, which sleeps 240.
"The North Korean delegation is bigger than ever, so we expect some difficulty providing them with transportation, accommodation, and security," the ministry official added.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to send officials to Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea, where up-and-coming skiers from the two Koreas are to train. They will check if the resort meets international standards and has proper facilities.
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